UPDATE: Witten Defeats Jones in Second Round Qualifying
ROEHAMPTON, England -- Former University of Kentucky men's tennis star Jesse Witten, posted a straight-sets victory over No. 201 Greg Jones of Australia to advance to the third and final round of qualifying for Wimbledon at the Bank of England Sports Ground on Wednesday.
The UK great played solid tennis in the second round, winning the first set 6-2 and then holding on a fierce rally in the second set by Jones to claim the 7-6 (8-6) win. With the win, Witten advances to the final round of the qualifying stage to play overall No. 12-seed Go Soeda of Japan with the winner receiving a qualifying spot to Wimbledon.
Witten, currently ranked No. 170 in the ATP Rankings, posted an impressive win in the first round, defeating No. 266 Bobby Reynolds. Witten fell behind early in the match, dropping the first set 7-5 to Reynolds, who has been ranked as high as No. 63 in the world. Witten would respond in the final two sets to post the win with a 6-3 win in the second set and a dominating 6-1 win in the third set.
A total of 128 players participated in the qualifying event with only 16 qualifying spots available for Wimbledon. The Championships at Wimbledon are set to begin June 21 through July 4.
The former Wildcat is fresh off qualifying for the French Open in May where he defeated then-No. 107 Marcos Daniel of Brazil 7-6, (7-2), 4-6, 17-15 in a three-hour-47-minute marathon. Witten fell in the opening round of the French Open to No. 29 Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 3-6, 4-6, 3-6.
Witten grew into an iconic tennis figure at Kentucky during his college days (2002-2005), becoming only the 11th four-time men's singles All-American in NCAA history. Witten was named the 2005 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and advanced to the championship match of the 2005 NCAA Singles Championship. As a newcomer in 2002, Witten was named SEC Freshman of the Year, helping the Wildcats to a 23-10 mark and eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.