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Witten runs out of gas in contentious second-round match in Kentucky Bank Championships

After taking former Wildcat Jesse Witten to a third set and winning his second-round match in the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2, Britain's James Ward still was not happy.

And neither was Witten.

Witten didn't like the officiating, and Ward, last year's winner, didn't care for the crowd, or the officiating.

It seemed to penetrate Witten's skin a little deeper than Ward, who despite his distaste for the vocal crowd, kept his cool, picked up his serve and waited for his opponent to make mistakes.

"When it is like that — in your face on every point — and people don't know what they are talking about, it can get very frustrating," said the 27-year-old Ward, referring to reactions to the calls by some of the fans.

Despite the upheaval of the third set, the first two sets were filled with plenty of momentum shifts. Ward gave Witten far fewer looks at the ball than Witten's opponent in the first round, Italy's Erik Crepaldi. He also neutralized Witten's trademark strength and accuracy. Witten couldn't get his serve under wraps, but neither could Ward until the last set. Both men had first-serve percentages ranging around the 50 percent mark, with Ward's a few percentage points higher.

Ward described his play in the beginning as "pretty shambolic." Witten might have said the same thing about his own third set or he might have said he ran out of gas.

"It's a lack of playing and a lack of conditioning," said the Bradenton, Fla., resident, who has been teaching tennis. "I can't get out there and expect to play perfect, but it was great to be able to compete with a guy who is 150 in the world."

Ward said Witten was able to find extra energy from the crowd, but he said he felt like he played the better game.

Oudin alive for wild card

Two contenders in the hunt for a USTA Pro Circuit wild card, Melanie Oudin and Louisa Chirico, faced off Wednesday night in the first round of the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships.

(The USTA Pro Circuit is awarding a wild card into the U.S. Open main draw to the American woman who earns the most ranking points in two out of three selected tournaments. The Lexington Challenger tournament is the last stop of those three.)

The wild card is still within reach for Oudin as she defeated Chirico in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

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