No. 12 Kentucky to Face Mississippi State, Alabama
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off of a pair of Southeastern Conference victories last weekend, the No. 12 Kentucky men’s tennis team returns to action with a two game road swing this weekend.
The Wildcats will start the road trip by heading to Starkville, Miss., to face the Bulldogs of Mississippi State, with the match set for Friday, Mar. 11, at 6 p.m. Kentucky will follow up the match with the Bulldogs by taking on the Crimson Tide of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Sunday, Mar. 13, at 2 p.m.
Last weekend, Kentucky (10-2, 2-0 SEC) extended its win streak to four straight and has claimed six of its last seven matches following wins over Arkansas and Ole Miss in the opening weekend of SEC action. The Wildcats opened the week with a matchup against Arkansas on Friday evening, rallying from down 0-2 to claim the final five singles matches for a 5-2 victory. Sophomore Trey Yates clinched the match with a gutsy 6-4, 6-4 win on the fifth court. Kentucky followed up Arkansas with another win, this time against Ole Miss. Kentucky led 3-1, before Ole Miss made a run to tie the match at 3-all. The match came down to freshman Ryotaro Matsumura who battled to a 6-6 tie in the second set before a 7-4 tiebreaker victory earned both Matsumura and the Wildcats the win.
Freshman Enzo Wallart also played a key role in the two victories. Wallart played on the fourth court in singles, first notching a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over Arkansas’ Giammarco Micolani to tie the match 2-2 for UK. On Sunday, Wallart played a nearly flawless match, dropping just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Ole Miss’ Fabian Fallert to give the Cats a 2-1 team lead. The Windermere, Fla., native earned his first SEC Freshman of the Week honor following the performance.
The Wildcats jumped 10 spots in Wednesday’s weekly ITA rankings, climbing to No. 12 in the country following the first two SEC wins. Bushamuka and Matsumura remain ranked, resting at No. 23 and No. 108 respectively.
Mississippi State (9-3, 1-1 SEC) and Alabama (9-6, 1-1 SEC) both rank in the top 50 programs in the country, ranking at No. 44 and No. 50 respectively. The Bulldogs come into the match with two ranked singles players in No. 36 Mate Cutura and No. 77 Rishab Agarwal. The Crimson Tide boast two ranked singles players as well – No. 62 Mazen Osama and No. 81 Korey Lovett. The duo of Osama and Lovett also make up the No. 42 duo in the country.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow @UKMensTennis on Twitter or Kentucky Men’s Tennis Team on Facebook.