ASHLAND, Ky. — Professional tennis will again return to Ashland in 2019, with the Braidy Industries $60,000 Women’s Tennis Classic at the Ashland Tennis Center July 20-28.

The tournament’s inaugural event last year included 14 players who played in the 2018 U.S. Open and was embraced by the local community. It was awarded the Tournament of the Year by the Kentucky Tennis Association.

Tournament Director Jack Ditty, who accepted the prestigious state award in Louisville in January, touted the many benefits the tournament is contributing to the local area. Proceeds have helped with renovations to the Ashland Tennis Center, including court and facility improvements; courts were resurfaced ahead of last year’s tournament to meet strict professional standards.

“It’s not just a great event,” Ditty said. “This will have a lasting affect in our community.”

American Gail Brodsky won the 2018 singles championship, her first $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit title. She rallied back after dropping the first set for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory over American Maegan Manasse.

Including the 14 who played in the U.S. Open in New York, the 2018 Braidy Industries Tennis Classic included 56 international women from 26 countries.

The Pro Circuit hosts tour-level competition for aspiring players and also attracts established professionals. Ashland’s tournament is also part of the U.S. Open Wild Card Event, a series of events to earn entry into the U.S. Open, one of tennis’ four professional majors.

The tournament’s title and presenting sponsors return this year — Braidy Industries and Bon Secours Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital. Additional sponsorship opportunities of varying levels are now available.

All of the Main Draw tournament matches will again be available via live scoring. The Feature Match of the Day and the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be broadcast live online at Ken Thomas will broadcast the tournament.

In additional to the main singles and doubles draw, the Tennis Classic will host a prequalifier and qualifier tournaments. Public events, including a day-long kids sports clinic and FitFest, will return as well.