No. 18 Kentucky Tops SEC Foe South Carolina
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind an impressive job in doubles, the Kentucky Wildcats earned their third straight win, defeating the top-75 South Carolina Gamecocks, 4-3, on a chilly Friday afternoon at Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center.
Sophomore sensation William Bushamuka clinched the match once again, earning his eighth win against a ranked opponent this season. The Princeton, N.J., native squared off with No. 93 Gabriel Friedrich, going a full three sets. After a 6-3 win for Bushamuka in the first, Friedrich pushed back, taking the second set 6-4. The match was tied 2-2 in the third set until Bushamuka elevated his play, taking four of the next five games for a 6-3 win in the third to secure the match.
Kentucky moves to 14-4 on the season with a 4-2 mark in Southeastern Conference matches. South Carolina drops to 9-10 on the season with a 1-4 league record.
The Wildcats will return to the court on Sunday, March 27, with a trip to Athens, Georgia. Kentucky will face off with league-leader Georgia in what should prove to be an exciting match, with first serve set for 3 p.m. ET. Fans can follow along live with stats here.
After recently struggling in tandem play, Kentucky earned its first doubles win in seven matches, with the last doubles win coming against Indiana on February 26. The match was tightly contested, with all three matches hotly contested. Sophomore classmates William Bushamuka and Gus Benson gave UK the lead, rallying from behind to win the final three games for a 7-5 victory over Harrison O’Keefe and Alex Fennell on the second court. Junior Nils Ellefsen and freshman Enzo Wallart fought to the end, clinching the point with a 7-4 tiebreak winner over Sam Swank and Gabriel Friedrich on the top court. Freshmen Ryotaro Matsumura and Austin Hussey we’re in the midst of a tiebreak with the set tied 6-6 when their match was discontinued.
After taking the doubles match, South Carolina responded with two wins of their own, as sophomore Trey Yates fell on the third court and Hussey faced a setback on the fifth.
Benson equalized for the Wildcats on the sixth court. The sophomore stepped up in singles play, taking down Sam Swank in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4. Matsumura was the next to earn a point for UK, taking down Andrew Schafer. Matsumura was played close in the first set, 7-5, before steam rolling the competition 6-1 in the second set.
Bushamuka clinched the match before Stefanik fell to his competition in a 10-5 super tiebreaker.
#18 Kentucky 4, #65 South Carolina 3 '
1. #23 William Bushamuka (UK) def. #93 Gabriel Friedrich (SCAR) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
2. Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) def. Andrew Schafer (SCAR) 7-5, 6-1
3. Harrison O'Keefe (SCAR) def. Trey Yates (UK) 6-3, 6-2
4. Thomas Mayronne (SCAR) def. Jake Stefanik (UK) 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5)
5. Alex Fennell (SCAR) def. Austin Hussey (UK) 6-2, 6-1
6. Gus Benson (UK) def. Sam Swank (SCAR) 7-5, 6-4
1. Nils Ellefsen/Enzo Wallart (UK) def. Harrison O'Keefe/Alex Fennell (SCAR) 7-6 (7-4)
2. William Bushamuka/Gus Benson (UK) def. Sam Swank/Gabriel Friedrich (SCAR) 7-5
3. Ryotaro Matsumura/Austin Hussey (UK) vs. Andrew Schafer/Thomas Mayronne (SCAR) 6-6, unfinished
South Carolina 9-10 (1-4 SEC); National ranking #65
Kentucky 14-4 (4-2 SEC); National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (3,5,6,2,1,4)
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