Kentucky Faces Setback at No. 21 Northwestern

CHICAGO – In one of its many tough road tests of 2016, the Kentucky Wildcats battled but fell short on Saturday afternoon, as the No. 21 Northwestern Wildcats walked away with a 6-1 victory in the Combe Tennis Center. 

It was freshman Ryotaro Matsumura who stood out for Kentucky, earning the team’s lone singles victory on the day. The newcomer took down the country’s 47th-ranked player in Sam Shropshire in straight sets, besting the junior 7-5, 6-2. Matsumura continues to build on a stellar season, earning a new career-best win in singles after defeating Shropshire. Earlier in the season, Matsumura helped UK to the 4-3 upset of then-No. 13 Duke, 4-3, after defeating No. 102 TJ Pura. 

With the loss, Kentucky moves to 6-2 on the young season. Northwestern now sits at 8-1 in 2016.

There was no lack of effort from the Blue and White, as three Kentucky players managed to extend singles to a third set. 

On the third court, Junior Nils Ellefsen dropped a tight 7-5 decision before rallying in the second set 7-5. No. 77 Kirchheimer eventually took the match with a 6-4 victory in the third. Freshman Enzo Wallart played on the fourth court, winning an epic 14-12 tiebreaker in the first. Northwestern’s Baev took the second before Wallart eventually fell in another tiebreaker, 7-4, in the third. Sophomore Trey Yates forced a third set on No. 5 after taking the first set, 6-2. 

Kentucky will look to right the ship on Sunday, Jan. 21, where the team will face its next road test, traveling to South Bend, Ind., for a showdown with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame at 10 a.m.

#21 Northwestern 6, #49 Kentucky 1

Singles (Order of Finish: 6, 1, 2, 5, 3, 4) 
1. #14 Konrad Zieba (NU) def. #25 William Bushamuka (UK) 6-4, 6-2 
2. Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) def. #47 Sam Shropshire (NU) 7-5, 6-2
3. #77 Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Nils Ellefsen (UK) 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 
4. Fedor Baev (NU) def. Enzo Wallart (UK) 6-7 (12-14), 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) 
5. Alp Horoz (NU) def. Trey Yates (UK) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 
6. Ben Vandixhorn (NU) def. Charles Minc (UK) 6-3, 6-3

Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 2) 
1. Fedor Baev/Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Kevin Lai/Nils Ellefsen (UK) 6-3 
2. Konrad Zieba/Sam Shropshire (NU) def. Ryotaro Matsumura/Enzo Wallart (UK) 6-4 
3. Alp Horoz/Mihir Kumar (NU) vs. Trey Yates/William Bushamuka (UK) 4-4, unfinished

For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow @UKMensTennis on Twitter or Kentucky Men’s Tennis Team on Facebook.