ASHLAND, Ky. — A hot week at the Ashland Tennis Center took a toll on the Braidy Industries $60,000 Women’s Tennis Classic field. Australian Ellen Perez (AUS) withstood and claimed the championship 6-2, 3-2 in a retirement against Zoe Hives (AUS) on Sunday afternoon.
Perez was the tournament’s No. 7 seed and also beat last year’s finalist Maegan Manasse (USA) in the quarterfinals. She had a three-set victory over Katie Swan (GRB) in the semifinals 7-6(6) 0-6, 6-3, and another three-setter against Catherine Harrison in the round of 16, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Last year, Perez was runner-up in five International Tennis Federation finals in her home country of Australia — including one against Hives. Her other ITF singles championship came in 2016 at a $10,000-level event in Belgium. Perez was ranked as high as 175th early this year and came into the Ashland draw at No. 197.
Hives owns four ITF singles titles. She was awarded a wild card into the Australian Open in January and defeated American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 6-2 to earn $105,000 for making the second round.
In Ashland, Hives cruised into the semifinal round before a three-set victory over Robin Anderson (USA), 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, to reach the championship round. She was the tournament’s No. 8 seed.
The Tennis Classic is again part of the US Open Wild Card Challenge in 2019. Three players who played in the Ashland tournament last year — with primary sponsors of Braidy Industries and Bon Secours Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital — went on to compete in the 2018 US Open: Caroline Dolehide, Asia Muhammad, and Whitney Osuigwe. Eleven others made it to the US Open Qualifier, including champion Gail Brodsky.
US Open Wild Card Challenge
The USTA will be awarding one (1) women’s main draw wild card into 2019 US Open based on performance in specific ITF World Tennis Tour events and specific WTA Tour events. The wild card will be awarded to the American player with the highest total of cumulative WTA singles ranking points from their best three (3) results – including points earned in qualifying and main draw:
- Week of July 8 – ITF World Tennis Tour W60 Honolulu, HI
- Week of July 15 – ITF World Tennis Tour W60 Berkeley, CA
- Week of July 22 – ITF World Tennis Tour W60 Ashland, KY / ITF World Tennis Tour W80 Granby, CAN
- Week of July 29 – ITF World Tennis Tour W60 Lexington, KY / San Jose WTA Premier / Washington, D.C. WTA International
- Week of August 5 – ITF World Tennis Tour W60 Landisville, PA / Toronto WTA Premier 5