Get out the brooms, because it was a sweep! It was a great day for Kentucky Tennis, as both teams defeat Arkansas 4-1. The Men’s team finished the whole game, and the final score was 5-2. Though the games were played in different states, the similarities were unprecedented. Both teams got the opening point of the match, winning 2 out of 3 doubles matches. The Women’s team didn’t finish out the two remaining singles matches because they wanted to be fresh heading into their next game. The 17th ranked Women’s team improves to 10-3 on the season and 2-1 in the SEC. This is Kentucky’s fourth top 35 victory of the season, a mark that only three other teams in the nation have accomplished. They will continue their road stretch on Sunday at Noon vs. Missouri. The 30th ranked Men’s team improves to 9-4 on the season, and remains undefeated (2-0) in the SEC. They will conclude their homestretch on Sunday at 1 PM vs. Ole Miss at Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, so come out and support your Cats!
The 40th ranked duo of Senior’s Emily Fanning and Mami Adachi upset the 30th ranked duo in the nation in one of the three duo matches to help contribute to the doubles point of the game. Junior Justina Mikulskyte and Sophomore Diana Tkachenko sealed the doubles point in favor of Kentucky, thanks to a 6-2 beatdown of the Arkansas duo.
Kentucky had momentum entering the singles games, and took advantage very early on. Diana Tkachenko scored first for Kentucky, by beating her opponent 6-4, 6-3. Senior Emily Fanning followed her teammate’s result, by upsetting Ana Oparenovic. She is the 87th best singles player in the USA, and was beaten by the UK Senior with a final score of 6-4, 6-3 as well. Kentucky needed just one more victory out of three courts to seal the deal, and Namibia native Lesedi Jacobs did just that. The Sophomore has continued to have a break out season, as she beat the Arkansas player 7-6, 6-3. The two coaches met up and decided to end the game with the final score being 4-1, and the Kentucky faithful in Arkansas were ecstatic. It was a great game for the Cats, filled with quick reaction and some of the most accurate shots of the season. The offseason work showed up in full force, because you could feel the power in each volley from every player on the Kentucky side.
Kentucky opened up strong and focused, winning the doubles point thanks to Sophomore Cesar Bourgois and Senior Gus Benson, who won 6-1 over the Arkansas duo. The doubles point was ensured in favor of Kentucky because of power-filled Junior duo Enzo Wallart and Ryotaro Matsumura. Simply put, they destroyed their opponent 6-0.
Kentucky was confident heading into the singles matches, and like the Women’s team, wasted no time gaining the lead over Arkansas. Junior Enzo Wallart was the first Kentucky player to win, beating Oscar Mesquida of Arkansas 6-2, 6-0. Arkansas returned the favor with a victory, but that didn’t stop Kentucky. The 43rd best singles player in the USA, Kentucky Junior Ryotaro Matsumura topped 84th ranked Jose Salazar of Arkansas 6-4, 4-6, and 6-4. At this point, some fans were drifting over from the Baseball stadium, and were hearing the Kentucky bench getting into it. One of the team’s vocal leaders, Will Bushamuka, topped the skilled Arkansas player with a score of 7-6, 5-7, and 6-4. Although the Cats had ensured the victory 4-1, both coaches agreed to finish the remaining games to give more practice for some of the less-experienced players. Austin Hussey gave Kentucky another point on the game, by defeating Pedro Alonso in a balanced 6-3, 6-4 victory. The other half of the Arkansas twin, Jose Alonso, beat Kentucky Senior Jake Stefanik with a final score of 6-4, 7-5. The black shirts for Kentucky were a fan favorite, with many fans saying, “I like those tops… they look very fierce” Whether or not they affected the game, can be left up for your opinion. But if one thing is for sure, it is that the victory was very beneficial for Kentucky. They played together, got game experience, and learned how to improve their individual games heading into the backstretch of the season.
Highlights can be found Here.
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