No. 20 Kentucky to Begin SEC Tournament Play

COLUMBIA, S.C. – After a season of preparation, the Kentucky men’s tennis team begins its postseason run on Thursday, April 21, at the Carolina Tennis Center, facing the 13-seed Tennessee Volunteers in the second round of the Southeastern Conference men’s tennis tournament with first serve set for 2 p.m.

In Kentucky’s lone matchup with Tennessee, the Wildcats prevailed, 5-2, over the Volunteers, back on April 1. Junior Nils Ellefsen and sophomore Jake Stefanik both notches wins before freshman Enzo Wallart clinched the match and a 4-0 lead on the fourth court.

The Southeastern Conference men’s tennis tournament, hosted by the University of South Carolina, will take place from April 20-24 at the Carolina Tennis Center. Extensive coverage of the event can be found on the tournament central page, including live scoring links, live video and post-match interviews.

Kentucky enters the SEC tournament as the fifth-seeded team after compiling an 18-8 record in the regular season, with a 7-5 mark in SEC matches. The Wildcats have two top-40 singles duos in Bushamuka, the 29th-ranked player in the country and freshman Ryotaro Matsumura, the 39th-ranked singles player. The two have played on the top two courts all season, earning 15 ranked singles wins combined in 2016.

The Wildcats have won three of their last five matches, including wins over No. 10 Texas
A&M and a 4-1 victory against Auburn. Three Wildcats in Bushamuka, Matsumura and Enzo Wallart have earned honors over the course of the season. Bushamuka was once named SEC Player of the Week, Matsumura was twice named SEC Freshman of the Week, while Wallart earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors once. 

UK will be in pursuit of its second SEC tournament championship ever - its first and only came in 1992.

Following its 4-3 victory over Aubrurn, Tennessee enters the second round with a 12-16 record in 2016. The win over Auburn also marked Tennessee’s first SEC win of the season. Luis Valero is UT’s lone ranked singles player, coming in at No. 67 in the country. He and Jack Schipanski make up the 23rd-best doubles pairing in the country.

The winner of tomorrow’s match will advance to the quarterfinal round on Friday, April 22, at 2 p.m., where fourth-seeded Mississippi State awaits the victor. Kentucky fell 5-0 in the regular season match with the Bulldogs back on March 12. 

1. #29 William Bushamuka (UK) vs. #67 Luis Valero (UT)
2. #39 Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) vs. Igor Smelyanski (UT)
3. Nils Ellefsen (UK) vs. Timo Stodder (UT)
4. Enzo Wallart (UK) vs. Srdjan Jakovljevic (UT)
5. Trey Yates (UK) vs. Jack Schipanski (UT)
6. Austin Husssey (UK) vs. Jack Heslin (UT)

1. Enzo Wallart/Nils Ellefsen (UK) vs. #23 Jack Schipanski/Luis Valero (UT)
2. William Bushamuka/Trey Yates (UK) vs. Igor Smelyanski/Jack Heslin (UT)
3. Gus Benson/Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) vs.  Timo Stodder/Srdjan Jakovljevic (UT)

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