In the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, Nicole Gibbs, a top contender for the USTA Pro Circuit wild card, got a little closer Thursday as she pulled out a 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2 win against fellow American Jennifer Brady, a wild card who worked her way through the qualifying rounds and into the second round of the main draw.
Gibbs, who swept both the 2012 singles and doubles NCAA titles while at Stanford University, soldiered through after her hip tightened up midway through the first set.
"I made a mental decision not to hand the match to her and to make her win the match," Gibbs said. "I'd rather stand still and not move rather than retire."
In the tiebreak, Gibbs went baseline to baseline with Brady, a rising sophomore at UCLA who as a freshman became only the eighth Bruin to win a Pac-10 singles title.
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"There were a couple of big-hustle plays in the second set," Gibbs said, "and my hip started to loosen up. Then the adrenaline kicked in the third set, and I wasn't really feeling it."
Gibbs will now play top seed Jarmila Gajdosov, 27, of Australia, at noon Friday. Gajdosov is ranked 149 in singles. She has won 15 singles titles in her career.
Melanie Oudin, with 57 points, is still running second to Gibbs (97 points) for the wild card into the U.S. Open and will play American Maria Sanchez in the quarterfinals Friday at 7 p.m.
Oudin reached the quarterfinals after a confident 6-2, 6-2 win over Chieh-Yu Hsu of Taiwan Thursday. Sanchez, 24, is ranked at 357 but was as high as 107 a little more than a year ago.
Eric Quigley and Kevin Metka reached the doubles semifinals by defeating New Zealanders Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell 6-4, 6-4.
Quigley, a UK star, and Metka, one of Ohio State's top players, have never played doubles together, and have never faced each other, either.