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Escobedo, Krajicek claim titles in Kentucky Bank Tennis Championship

Ernesto Escobedo returns against Frances Tiafoe en route to winning the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championship at the Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, July 31, 2016.
Ernesto Escobedo returns against Frances Tiafoe en route to winning the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championship at the Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, July 31, 2016.

A week of exciting tennis wrapped up Sunday with the championship rounds of the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championship in Lexington.

Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands pulled out a three-set victory over Australia’s Arina Rodionova to win the women’s singles title, and Ernesto Escobedo beat fellow American Frances Tiafoe in a men’s final that included a pair of tie-breakers.

Krajicek started aggressively and rolled to a 6-0 win in the first set. Rodionova battled back to take the second set, 6-2, before Krajicek overwhelmed her in the third, 6-2, to secure the title.

In the men’s final, Escobedo, aided by some unforced errors, prevailed 6-2 in a lopsided first set. Both men were noticeably fatigued after a long week of tennis.

Tiafoe fell behind again in the second set, erasing a 40-0 deficit in the eighth game to tie it 4-all.

From there, the two held serve until Tiafoe forced a tie-break, which he won 7-6.

In the third set, the players again held serve until the eventual tie-break, but this time Escobedo used a 7-3 advantage to take the title 6-2, 6-7, 7-6.

“It’s been an incredible week. I never thought I was going to win this tournament,” Escobedo said following the trophy presentation. “I just came in here just to play my game and have fun out there. It was a great week for me.”

Going forward, Escobedo hopes the hard-fought victory in the finals will benefit his game. He hopes to be chosen for the U.S. Open field this month.

Escobedo also praised his opponent, saying the 18-year-old Tiafoe has a bright future.

Doubles winners

In the men’s doubles championship match on Saturday night, the Australian tandem of Luke Saville and Jordan Thompson defeated South Africans Nicolaas Scholtz and Tucker Vorster.

Saville and Thompson were serving for the match with a 5-4 lead in the second set, but the South African duo were able to break serve. The Aussies followed with their own break and won 6-2, 7-5.

Hiroki Kuwata (Japan) and Lin Zhu (China) defeated the United States’ Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller in straight sets — 6-0, 7-5 — in the women’s doubles finals.

Anthony Crawford: 859-231-1627, @a_craw_

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