No. 17 Kentucky Opens SEC Slate Against Defending National Champion Vanderbilt

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 17 Kentucky women’s tennis team will be put to the test in its Southeastern Conference opener, taking on defending national champion No. 8 Vanderbilt on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET in Nashville, Tenn.

Kentucky is off to its best start since the 2007 season when the Wildcats strung together a 15-1 record.  This year, the Wildcats have compiled an 11-1 record and are riding a 10-match winning streak since dropping the only loss of the season thus far to No. 4 Michigan.  Kentucky’s hot streak is aided by the fact that the team has rolled through most of its opponents this season, clinching every match in the month of February by the fourth point.

Headlining the Wildcat lineup is the duo of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi, who are ranked as the No. 2 doubles team in the country after bursting onto the national scene with a preseason top-10 ranking for the first time in their careers.  The two are also Kentucky’s lone ranked players, with Sutjiadi ranked 95th in the nation in singles while Adachi is No. 104.

Should her success continue, UK could also see a ranking in the near future for freshman standout Justina Mikulskytė.  The rookie is part of a Lithuanian duo, along with Akvilė Paražinsaitė, which has been racking up multiple wins with just two losses between the two throughout 19 singles matches.  Mikulskytė has worked her way into the No. 1 spot for the Wildcats, playing the last eight matches as UK’s top singles player. 

Also having a dominant year is senior Nadia Ravita, who has moved into the No. 3 spot for the 2016 season and has posted an 8-1 record.  Even more impressive is Ravita’s performance in the last five matches.  In the 10 sets that she has played, Ravita has given up just seven games and has blanked her opponent 6-0 in six sets.

 Vanderbilt holds a 7-2 record coming into the weekend’s matchup, with both losses coming against No. 1 Ohio State.  The Commodores dropped a 4-3 decision to the Buckeyes in the quarterfinals of the ITA Indoor National Championships on Feb. 6, and fell again one week later in Columbus, 4-2.  

Three ranked players stand out in singles for the Commodores, with Frances Altick holding the highest ranking at No. 16.  Altick plays primarily in the No. 2 spot and holds a 4-0 record, with two ranked wins including her highest over No. 35 Maddie Lipp of Northwestern, 6-1, 6-4.  Altick has faced a Wildcat already this year, taking down Adachi in the quarterfinals of the Ohio Valley Regional Championships, 6-4, 6-2.

Sitting at No. 23 is Astra Sharma, who has a 2-0 record in No. 2 singles and a 3-0 record in No. 3 singles.  Sharma has three ranked wins on the season, with the highest being a 6-4, 6-2 decision over No. 28 Kaitlyn McCarthy of Duke.  Sharma met up with two Wildcats in the fall, defeating Morgan Chumney in the Round of 32 at the OVR Championships, 6-2, 7-6, before going to three sets with Ravita in the quarterfinals and coming away with a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 win.  Just a sophomore, Sharma already has NCAA Championship experience under her belt in both singles and doubles.  Last year, she fell in the Round of 64 at the national singles championship while she advanced to the quarterfinals in the doubles championship.

No. 25 Sydney Campbell has played primarily in the No. 1 spot for the Commodores, holding a 4-1 record on the season.  Her only loss came to No. 1 Francesca Di Lorenzo of OSU in a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 setback.  Campbell has picked up three ranked wins this year, and has also matched up with a Kentucky player in the fall after picking up a win over Mikulskytė in the quarterfinals of the OVR Championships, 6-4, 7-6.  Campbell is also one half of the No. 9 doubles pairing in the nation along with Courtney Colton, as the two have gone 4-4 this season.  They met Adachi and Sutjiadi in the fall, with the Wildcats earning a bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships with a 6-3, 6-4 win in the finals of the OVR Championships.

When the two teams met last year in Lexington, Vanderbilt secured a 4-2 victory over the Cats.  Adachi and Sutjiadi were the lone winners for the Wildcats in singles action, as Sutjiadi claimed a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3) win over Sharma in No. 2 singles while Adachi took down Altick in No. 5 singles, 6-2, 6-4.  

Live stats for Sunday’s match will be available here.

Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky women’s tennis team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info, notes, and behind-the-scenes updates, follow the team on Twitter at @UKWomensTennis and on Facebook.