Sunday's finals at UK's Boone Tennis Center boast a couple of Lexington Challenger firsts. Never before have the top two men's seeds faced each other, nor has a qualifier ever made it through to Sunday.
No. 1 James Ward of London, England, and No. 2 Wayne Odesnik of Weston, Fla., will square off at 1 p.m. on stadium court 1. Concurrently, on stadium court 2, qualifier Amanda Fink of Calabasas, Calif., will take on unseeded, but red-hot Chichi Scholl — who also was one-half of the doubles champions that were crowned Saturday night.
Odesnik whisked through unseeded Greg Ouellette 6-0, 6-0, but he's had a harder time off the court the last 18 months when he was banned from the tour for two years on human growth hormone (HGH) charges.
The suspension was later shortened to a year by the International Tennis Federation.
Odesnik said he was trying to better himself, both in public and in his personal life.
"After something like this, you appreciate things a lot more," he said. "And you learn who your true friends are."
Neither women's finalist is seeded, but Scholl knocked off No. 6 Melinda Czink and No. 4 Tetiana Luzhanska. Saturday she stepped up in the tiebreaker with two gutsy, wide serves on 5-foot-2½ Lauren Davis of Cleveland — the No. 3 ranked junior in the world — and won her way into her first $50K Challenger, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Fink has been to a $50K final before, but that was four years ago when she was an amateur.
"The last few weeks I've had a love-hate relationship with tennis," she said. "I was burnt out." Once again, she handled the heat better than her opponent and dismantled eighth-seeded Ling Zhang of Hong Kong 6-1, 6-4.