Kentucky Outlasts Crimson Tide in 4-3 Victory

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 20 Kentucky women’s tennis team started its final weekend of the regular season on the right foot, denying Southeastern Conference foe Alabama its first conference win of the year with a down-to-the-wire 4-3 victory at Boone Tennis Center.  The Wildcats move to 17-7 on the season and are in position to post the first winning campaign in the SEC since 2007, sitting at 6-6 in the league.  The Crimson Tide falls to 4-16 and picked up its 12th straight loss in league play.

“It’s definitely always a tough battle in the SEC,” noted head coach Carlos Dradá.  “Alabama has a great coaching staff, a great coach and a great group of ladies.  To beat a team like Alabama is a huge positive for our program, so I’m very excited and I’m very grateful that things went our way today because it really could have gone either way.”

Kentucky picked up the opening point in its usual fashion, dominating the doubles sets.  Nadia Ravita and Justina Mikulskytė earned a quick 6-1 victory over Andie Daniell and Joanna Nena Savva in No. 2 doubles, while UK’s second-nationally-ranked duo of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi clinched the point with a 6-4 win over No. 78 Erin Routliffe and Natalia Maynetto.

Alabama quickly equalized the score as Ravita retired her match in No. 3 singles to Maynetto after going out with an injury at 2-5.  As quickly as the Crimson Tide knotted the score, the Wildcats jumped out to a 2-1 lead with Adachi’s matching 6-1 sets over Nena Savva in No. 5 singles.  

The score came to a deadlock once again at 2-2 following Danielle Spielmann’s 6-3, 6-4 win over Akvilė Paražinskaitė in No. 4 singles, and all three of the matches that would decide the fate of the dual entered into a tiebreak set.  Kirsten Lewis was the first to knock down her opponent in No. 6 singles, dropping the first set against Bennette Dunn, 3-6, but retaliating with a 6-2 win in the second.  Lewis jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and went on to take the deciding set, 6-3 to give Kentucky a 3-2 lead.

Mikulskytė came out strong against the 28th-ranked Routliffe, downing the Alabama No. 1 singles player 6-2 in the first set.  Routliffe pushed the extra set with a 6-3 victory in the second, and rattled off three straight games after being down 4-3 in the third to claim the win in the tiebreak set, 6-4.  

With the score locked in at 3-3, the match came down to the reigning SEC Player of the Week, Sutjiadi.  The junior had a dominant defeat of No. 42 Daniell in the first set, 6-1, but dropped the second in a 6-3 decision.  Sutjiadi and Daniell battled back and forth in the tiebreak set, but the Wildcat emerged victorious with a 6-4 win to clinch the match.

Kentucky will face No. 12 Auburn on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the regular season, taking on the Tigers at 11 a.m. ET at Boone Tennis Center.  The Wildcats will honor their three seniors, Kate Lanier, Lewis and Ravita, 30 minutes prior to first serve.

Coach Dradá remarked about Sunday’s contest, “the importance is going to be getting our players to take things one point at a time and stay in the present.  As long as you’re giving your best effort in terms of staying in the present and playing for every point, then you cannot do anything else.  I trust that our players are going to be able to do that.  It’s going to be a match filled with emotions because we have three seniors who have contributed greatly to our program.  It’s going to be a very special day, but I just hope for the team that we play our best and that they go out on a high note.”

#20 Kentucky 4, #62 Alabama 3
Boone Tennis Center – Lexington, Ky.
April 15, 2016

Singles (Order of Finish:  3, 5, 4, 6, 1, 2*)
1.  No. 28 Erin Routliffe (BAMA) def. No. 69 Justina Mikulskytė (UK) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
2.  No. 53 Aldila Sutjiadi (UK) def. No. 42 Andie Daniel (BAMA) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4
3.  Natalia Maynetto (BAMA) vs. Nadia Ravita (UK) 5-2, retired
4.  Danielle Spielmann (BAMA) def. Akvilė Paražinskaitė (UK) 6-3, 6-4
5.  Mami Adachi (UK) def. Joanna Nena Savva (BAMA) 6-1, 6-1
6.  Kirsten Lewis (UK) def. Bennette Dunn (BAMA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

Doubles (Order of Finish:  2, 1*)
1.  No. 2 Mami Adachi/Aldila Sutjiadi (UK) def. No. 78 Erin Routliffe/Natalia Maynetto (BAMA) 6-4
2.  Nadia Ravita/Justina Mikulskytė (UK) def. Andie Daniell/Joanna Nena Savva (BAMA) 6-1
3.  Akvilė Paražinskaitė/Kirsten Lewis (UK) vs. Bennette Dunn/Danielle Spielmann (BAMA) 5-3, abandoned
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