Wild-card entry and local favorite Julie Ditty knew that getting back into professional tennis was going to be a challenge. The 35-year-old found out just how much of a challenge on Tuesday night when No. 2-seeded Madison Brengle beat her 6-0, 6-1 in under an hour at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships.
Ditty, who grew up in Ashland, had some nice points in the first set, particularly when using her slice backhand to set up winners. But Brengle's speed and power proved too much to overcome.
The 24-year-old Brengle, who trains in Bradenton, Fla., said she played Ditty six times before her retirement in 2011 (going 3-3), and they were all tough matches. Giving Ditty credit for being able to open up the court, Brengle said she just tried to change up the pace and direction to keep Ditty behind the baseline.
After Ditty managed to hold serve in game three of the second set, Brengle continued to angle her groundstrokes deep to the baseline out of Ditty's reach. Brengle went on to take the second set, and the match, 6-0, 6-1.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
A disappointed Ditty said she made too many errors and was forced too far behind the baseline. She is still undecided about coming out of retirement fully but is saving that decision for at least one more tournament.
■ James McGee pulled out a win in three sets over No. 1 seed Evgeny Donskoy, 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-5. Donskoy, 24, of Moscow, currently ranked 111th, has finished in the top 100 for the past two years. McGee, Ireland's top player, is ranked 193.
"It was a dogfight, but I stuck in there ... It could've gone either way," McGee said after the two-hour-and-forty-minute match.
■ Former University of Kentucky star Eric Quigley teamed with Kevin Metka to win their opening doubles match 6-3, 7-5 against Sekou Bangoura and Evan King.