Experience, power and a larger all-around arsenal of shots combined to take down all but one of the local players in qualifying for the Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships on Sunday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.
University of Kentucky women's tennis player Nadia Ravita was the lone player left in the qualifying draw after she eased into a 6-0, 6-1 win over Elizabeth Vlachakis of Ann Arbor, Mich. She will play the University of Georgia's Lauren Herring on Monday at 10 a.m. in the second round of qualifying. Herring has nine USTA junior titles to her name and is the No. 5 ranked college player in the country.
"The last time I played her, I lost, but I will try my best," said Ravita, a rising sophomore from Jakarta, Indonesia.
On the men's side, another rising UK sophomore, Beck Pennington, lost to 27-year-old Fritz Wolmarans of South Africa, 6-4, 6-3. Wolmarans has seven Futures and Challenger titles in his 10-year professional career.
"It's my first tournament at this caliber," Pennington said. "... I knew I could not go baseline to baseline with him so I relied on my serve, but it let me down a bit."
As Pennington's serve began to falter, Wolmarans picked up his return and broke Pennington three times in the second set.
"He (Pennington) has some opportunities he did not capitalize on," UK men's tennis coach Cedric Kauffmann said. "But he's on the right track. I expect him to become a leader in the years ahead."
Kentucky state high school singles champion Madeline Rolph, a rising junior at Sayre, drew tough competition in Jainy Schepens, of the Netherlands, losing 6-1, 6-2. Another local young player, 15-year-old Allison Quammen of Nicholasville, also lost 6-0, 6-0 to Alexandra Mueller of Abington, Pa., who has seven singles titles in Satellite and Challenger tournaments.
Recent UK graduate Jessica Stiles of Wyckoff, N.J., lost to Clemson's Yana Koroleva, 6-1, 6-3. Koroleva has won two $10,000 Satellite tournaments and is nationally ranked 13 in college tennis. UK rising senior Caitlin McGraw lost to UCLA's Kyle McPhillips 6-2, 6-3.