Greg Ouellette, a semifinalist in last year's Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships, plays some of his best tennis at the University of Kentucky's Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. That continued Monday night when he knocked off top-seeded Maxime Authom of Belgium 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Just in time, too, as lighting and approaching rain suspended play soon after — including the professional debut in a Challenger singles match of former University of Kentucky star Eric Quigley.
Quigley's match with Riccardo Ghedin was moved to Wednesday and will start no sooner than 4 p.m.
Ouellette appreciated the fan support. "I played well here, too, as a Florida Gator," he said. "I hear a lot of fans in stands pulling for me, which means a lot."
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Ouellette said he made some tweaks to his forehand and serve in the past two weeks.
"I'm now hitting that solid shot — nothing tentative — and it was almost immediate," he said. "That's given me a lot of confidence."
Veteran player Alexandra Stevenson, on the other hand, seemed to lack confidence for a former top-20 player who is trying to make a comeback.
Floridian Lauren Albanese, a decade Stevenson's junior at age 22, toughed out a 6-4, 7-5 first-round victory.
Albanese, ranked 742th in the world, is trying to make a comeback of her own. Her previous best ranking was 150th.
"I've had health and personal struggles in the past year, so now I just feel blessed to be playing," said Albanese, who's been out of the game for two six-month stretches in the past 15 months. "I don't take this for granted."