Witten's Run Ends in Second Round of Qualifying

*** UPDATED ***

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former University of Kentucky men's tennis star Jesse Witten fell short of another run deep into the US Open, losing to Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of qualifying Friday. The tournament is being played at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

The native of Naples, Fla., won the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (4) before falling in the second and third set 6-3, 6-3. Sugita, ranked No. 235 in singles on the ATP World Tour, advances to the third round of qualifying needing one more win to gain entry into the US Open main draw.

Witten, who defeated two top-100 players in last year's US Open, advanced past the first round of qualifying after a straight-sets victory over Facundo Bagnis of Argentina.

Witten Advances to Second Round of Qualifying

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former University of Kentucky All-American Jesse Witten battled back in convincing fashion, winning his first-round qualifying match at the U.S. Open on Wednesday night. Witten defeated Facundo Bagnis of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (6), at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

Witten, who won three qualifying matches to qualify for the main draw at last year's U.S. Open, had to fight back to keep his hopes of another impressive run deep into the U.S. Open main draw, battling from a 5-3 deficit in the second set.
"He just kind of loosened up there in that second set," said Witten, who now resides in Naples, Fla. "I was able to scrap back."
Witten forced the second set to a tiebreaker, but fell down early again in the tiebreak as Bagnis took a 3-0 lead. Witten came back to hold three match points at 6-3 but double-faulted twice, failing to serve out the match. Bagnis tied it at 6-6 before Witten earned two more points for the win, the last coming on a forehand into the net by the left-handed Bagnis.
"I was thinking don't ever let me serve again, just return," said Witten of those two doubles faults. "I actually didn't serve bad tonight. I was thinking too much. I had to just not think about it and play tennis."

Witten advances to the second round to play the winner of No. 2-seeded Go Soeda and Yuichi Sugita. Soeda and Sugita did not finish their match Wednesday as play was suspended.
The U.S. Open qualifying tournament consists of 128 men and 128 women attempting to win three matches to earn one of 32 berths (16 for men and 16 for women) into the main draw of the year's final Grand Slam, the U.S. Open, which begins on Monday.