The Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships wrap up Sunday with the title matches at the University of Kentucky's Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.
Play begins at 1 p.m.
In the men's championship match on Stadium 1, John Millman of Australia takes on Japan's Yasutaka Uchiyama.
In the women's finals on Stadiumn 2, it's Samantha Crawford of the United States vs. Nao Hibino of Japan.
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'Lucky Loser' making run at title
In Saturday's semifinals, Uchiyama knocked out No. 4 seeded American Bjorn Fratangelo, 7-5 4-6 6-3. In addition to Fratangelo, Uchiyama defeated the No. 1 seed, James Ward, and the No. 5 seed, Yoshihito Nishioka, to make it to the finals.
Uchiyama's presence in the championship match is stunning, given that he almost did not make it into the tournament. Uchiyama lost to Noah Rubin in last weekend's qualifying but he was selected to the main draw as this event's "Lucky Loser."
“It’s a surprise for me," Uchiyama said. "This is my first Challenger tournament final and I’m coming from the Lucky Loser, it’s amazing.”
Millman, the tournament's No. 2 seed, defeated Mitchell Krueger, 6-3 6-2, in Saturday's other semifinal match.
“It feels good," Millman said. "That’s obviously the goal of this tournament, is to make it deep into the weekend and hopefully win. My opponent (Uchiyama) is playing well and having a great tournament. It’s going to be a tough match tomorrow, he’s obviously the giant killer this week so I’m looking forward to it.”
Crawford claims U.S. Open wild card
In the women's draw, 20-year-old American Samantha Crawford of Atlanta not only advanced to Sunday's championship match but locked up a wild-card spot for the upcoming U.S. Open.
Crawford defeated two-time Lexington Challenger finalist Julie Coin of France in the semifinals, 2-6 7-6 (5) 6-2.
“I thought she (Coin) came out really well in the first set, she kept me on the run," Crawford said. "In the second set I just told myself to hang in there and try to get more first serves in. We held serve through the second set but I willed myself through the tiebreaker to take the set. In the third set I kept my focus and tried to be more consistent, it payed off."
Crawford will be seeking her first Challenger-level singles title Sunday already knowing she's in the U.S. Open, a tournament for which she's qualified only once previously, in 2012.
“It’s awesome, I kind of knew when I was playing but I didn’t really want to think about it," Crawford said. "Nobody talked to me about it and I didn’t want to talk about it, but after I won everyone was texting me and I realized it was true. I’m really excited.”
Crawford will meet No. 2 seed Nao Hibino of Japan on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Hibino advanced by defeating Amandine Hesse of France 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday.
Doubles champions crowned
The men's and women's doubles titles were decided Saturday at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships.
The No. 4-seeded team of Carsten Ball of Australia and Brydan Klein of Great Britain took the men's finals, 6-4, 7-6, over No. 3 Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse of South Africa.
In women's doubles, Nao Hibino of Japan and Emily Webley-Smith of Great Britain beat the No. 3-seeded team of Nicha Lertpitaksinchai and Peangtarn Plipuech of Thailand, 6-2 6-2.