Witten Plays in Western & Southern Financial Group Masters

Aug. 16, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- University of Kentucky men’s tennis great Jesse Witten received a wild card invitation into the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, falling in the first round of qualifying Saturday in Cincinnati.

Witten, ranked 180th in the ATP World Rankings, squared off against Michael Russell, ranked 79th in singles in the world rankings, in the qualifying round. The former UK star fought hard in the first set, battling Russell to a tiebreaker and eventually falling 7-6 (2). In the second set, Russell took control of the match, jumping out to a lead and holding on for the 6-3 win.

Russell, who was seeded 14th in qualifying, fell in the second round of qualifying to No. 2-seeded Florian Mayer of Germany. Mayer along with six other players qualified for the main draw of the tournament. The tournaments main draw began Monday and will conclude with the singles and doubles finals Sunday, Aug. 22.

The Western & Southern Financial Group Masters is one of the largest, oldest and most prestigious events in the world of tennis. It is one of nine elite ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, the strongest and most important tournaments on the ATP World Tour where all the top players are automatically entered.

Witten is having a splendid season on the court, recently helping the New York Sportimes reach the World TeamTennis Finals. Witten was a perfect 3-0 in the playoffs for the Sportimes as he posted a men’s doubles win in the 2010 WTT Eastern Conference Championship that helped propel New York to the WTT Finals.