Bushamuka Picks up Top-Five Win in Singles, UK Falls to Mississippi State, 4-3

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 17 Kentucky men’s tennis team lost a tough match to No. 21 Mississippi State on Saturday at the Boone Tennis Center by a score of 4-3. Despite a UK loss, Will Bushamuka defeated Nuno Borges – the No. 4 ranked singles player in the country. 

UK could not come away with the doubles point, but it still came down to a grueling match that went back and forth between the pairing of UK’s Bushamuka and Nils Ellefsen and Mississippi State’s Mate Cutura and Vaughn Hunter. The third and final match of the segment finished at a 7-6 tiebreak (8-6) in favor of the Bulldogs. 

Ryo Matsumura and Trey Yates lost the first game of their set, but battled back to take the second. The pairing also didn’t allow a point in the fourth game of the set, which gave them a 3-2 lead heading into the fifth. Borges and Strahinja Rakic of Mississippi State tried to make a comeback, but Yates and Matsumura kept their foot on the gas and didn’t give up a point in sixth game either. The duo went on to win the match in strong fashion at 6-2. 

Mississippi State jumped out to a 2-0 lead for the match, but Matsumura got the Wildcats on the board after a win at No. 2 singles. The sophomore from Japan won the first set 6-1 before his stellar play carried over into the second. Matsumura got off to a great start, taking three of the first four games in the second set. Rakic wouldn’t go away quietly, as he came back to win the next two games, but Matsumura answered with a win in the seventh. He went on to win the set 6-4.

Bushamuka took down MSU’s Borges 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), which put UK back in the match only down by one point, 3-2. The junior’s singles match was filled with just as much suspense as his doubles match earlier in the day. In the first set, the two traded games to 3-3 before Bushamuka won a hard-fought seventh game to get to a 4-3 advantage and another to get to 5-4. Borges showed why he’s one of the best in the country after he knotted the match back up at five games each. From there, Bushamuka kicked it up a notch and capped off an incredible first set without surrendering a point in the final game to take the set by a score of 7-5. In the second set, the junior traded games with Borges all the way to 6-6, which forced a tiebreak. The tiebreak was just as gripping as Bushamuka emerged victorious and picked up his second top-10 win this season.

Yates tied the overall match at 3-3 after his win over Trevor Foushey at No. 6 singles. The junior from Dunwoody, Georgia, fell to an early 2-1 deficit before he won the next four of five games to close out the set. Yates caught a 3-1 lead in the beginning of the second set, but Foushey clawed his way back into the match at 5-5 after Yates put a ball in net. As most Wildcats did today, Yates stayed poised and closed out his match with an ace to win 7-5 in the second.

Mississippi State clinched the match on court No. 5 with a 7-6 (7-2), 3-5, 6-3 win. 

The Cats will be back in action on March 26 at South Carolina. 

Mississippi State vs. Kentucky
March 18, 2017 – Boone Tennis Center, Lexington, Ky.
No. 21 Mississippi State 4, No. 17 Kentucky 3

Singles competition
1. #28 Will Bushamuka (UK) def. #4 Nuno Borges (MSU), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).
2. #25 Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) def. Strhinja Rakic (MSU), 6-1, 6-4.
3. Mate Cutura (MSU) def. Beck Pennington (UK) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
4. Niclas Braun (MSU) def. #75 Nils Ellefsen (UK), 6-1, 6-4.
5. Giovanni Oradini (MSU) def. Enzo Wallart (UK), 7-6 (7-2), 3-5, 6-3.
6. Trey Yates (UK) def. Trevor Foshey (MSU), 6-2, 7-5.

Doubles competition
1. #48 Niclas Braun/Trevor Foshey (MSU) def. #70 Beck Pennington/Enzo Wallart (UK), 6-4. 
2. Mate Cutura/Vaughn Hunter (MSU) def. Will Bushamuka/Nils Ellefsen (UK), 7-6 (8-6). 
3. Trey Yates/Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) def. Nuno Borges/Strahinja Rakic (MSU), 6-2.