You don’t get to see Serena Williams, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic in Lexington for the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, but don’t let anyone tell you the tennis is not of the highest caliber.
Some of the highest seeded players in this week’s ATP Challenger Tour event at the University of Kentucky’s Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center found that out the hard way on Tuesday.
The No. 3, 4 and 5 men’s seeds were eliminated in early-round matches as was defending women’s champion and No. 5 seed Grace Min of Atlanta.
The tournament — which offers a purse of $75,000 for the men and $60,000 for the women — continues through Sunday. The early rounds Monday through Wednesday were negotiated through off-and-on rain, but action has been proceeding as scheduled.
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Former University of Kentucky All-American Tom Jomby of France was scheduled to return to the court late Wednesday for a men’s singles round-of-16 match against Croatian Borna Gojo, who had been the surprise of the tournament thus far.
Gojo, who had to win two qualifying matches last weekend just to secure a spot in the 32-man main draw here, stunned No. 4 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain, 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Tuesday.
A testament to the level of player in Lexington this week, Gojo, who attended Wake Forest and stands 6-foot-7, was the runner-up in the NCAA men’s singles championships this past May. The 20-year-old is the No. 624-ranked player in the world. The 24-year-old Broady is ranked No. 192.
No. 3 seed Norbert Gombos of Slovakia was also upset in straight sets Tuesday, falling to India’s Saketh Myneni, 7-5, 7-6 (5). Myneni, a 30-year-old who has represented India in Davis Cup play, was to next face Ronnie Schneider of Bloomington, Ind., in the round of 16.
No. 5 seed Max Purcell of Australia was knocked off by Brazil’s Joao Magalhaes Haes Hueb de Menezes, 6-1, 6-4.
In women’s play, Min, ranked No. 169 in the world, was erased in three sets by Asia Muhammad of Long Beach, Calif., ranked No. 268, by a score of 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. The 27-year-old Muhammad has won two doubles titles on the WTA Tour.
Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships
When: Through Sunday
Where: UK’s HIlary J. Boone Tennis Center
Tickets: $10 per day or $50 for entire tournament