Kentucky Advances to Finals of ITA Regional Championships

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Kentucky men’s tennis team earned a spot in the singles and doubles draw finals of the ITA Regional Championships on the campus of the University of Tennessee. Junior Trey Yates will compete in the singles championship, while the pairing of senior Beck Pennington and sophomore Enzo Wallart advanced to the doubles finals. Both are slated for Monday, Oct. 24 at 10 a.m.

“To have a finalist in both singles and doubles in arguably the toughest regional in the country is a great accomplishment,” assistant coach Matt Emery said. “All four guys who competed this weekend answered the bell each day of this event and left it all out there.”

In the singles draw, Yates took down a nationally ranked opponent to advance to the finals after defeating No. 21 Daniel Valent of Vanderbilt, 6-3, 6-4. The Dunwoody, Georgia native will compete on Monday at 10 a.m. in the finals against No. 57 Ryan Peniston of Memphis for a bid to the ITA National Indoor Championships.

“Trey played another very solid, smart and complete match,” Emery said. “Valent is a very good player who played No. 1 for Vanderbilt all last season. Trey did a good job of playing to his strengths and not giving him any room to breathe. When Trey plays like that, physically and emotionally, he is one of the toughest outs in college tennis.

Pennington also competed in the semifinals of the singles draw and fell in a hard fought 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) match to Peniston.

“It was a tough one of Beck today,” Emery said. “We both wanted to win that one badly, so it stings a little bit. Looking at the big picture, this was a phenomenal weekend for him. He played the best tennis he has played since his injury and he solidified the fact he is back to being one of the best tennis players. I couldn’t be more proud of his weekend and of the work he’s put in to get all the way back.”

In the doubles draw, Pennington/Wallart took down Aviv Ben Shabat and Ari Gerstein of Butler, 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the finals. The duo will face Luis Valero and Jack Schipanski of Tennessee on Monday at 10 a.m. with a spot in the ITA National Indoor Championships on the line.

The ITA Regional Championships features some of the top men's and women's players across the country. Over 8,000 student-athletes from NCAA I, II, III, NAIA, Junior and Community Colleges compete across 85 ITA Regional Championships around the country. The winners of each draw will receive berths to the ITA National Indoor Championships on Nov. 3-5 in Flushing, N.Y.

Main Draw Singles

[13] Trey Yates (Kentucky) def. [1] Daniel Valent (Vanderbilt) 6-3 ,6-4

[5] Ryan Peniston (Memphis) def. [28] Beck Pennington (Kentucky) 1-6, 6-1 7-6 (7-3)

Main Draw Doubles

[3] Pennington/Wallart (Kentucky) def. Shabat/Gerstein (Butler) 7-5, 6-3