Rookies Shine At Gulf Coast Invite Opening Day

FT. MEYERS, Fla. – The University of Kentucky men’s tennis team saw its young stars shine bright on Friday in the opening day of the 2016 Florida Gulf Coast Invite, with freshman Ryotaro Matsamura and Austin Hussey both picking up singles wins.

Matsamura knocked off the Memphis Tigers’ Felix Rauch in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2 with Hussey closing out Shakeel Manji of Memphis, 6-2, 6-3 in two sets as well. Sophomore Jake Stefanik was able to pick up off the momentum he had from the fall, and start 2016 with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win Friday.

“Today was a really good day for our freshman,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said, who is embarking on his fourth year at the helm of Kentucky men’s tennis. “We competed well overall but we have to tweak some things in doubles. The effort was certainly there. We will get better through the weekend to get ready for the season opener next weekend.”

The Wildcats were able to pick up a doubles win through the racquets of Matsamura and another freshman, Enzo Wallart, who won 6-4 in their match. All of today’s competitions through the weekend are serving as exhibition matches and will not count towards the team’s overall dual or individual match records. 

UK opens the 2016 season at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center on Friday, Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. ET against the Northern Kentucky Norse. That match will serve as the first of two on the day, as the doubleheader concludes with a 5 p.m. ET showdown against Eastern Kentucky. 

WATSON, Andrew (Memphis) def. ELLEFSEN, Nils (Kentucky) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
PENISTON, Ryan (Memphis) def. YATES, Trey (Kentucky) 6-1, 6-4
MATSAMURA, Ryotaro (Kentucky) def. RAUCH, Felix (Memphis) 6-2, 6-2
LEMKE, Kai (Memphis) def. WALLART, Enzo (Kentucky) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
HUSSEY, Austin (Kentucky) def. MANJI, Shakeel (Memphis) 6-2, 6-3
STEFANIK, Jake (Kentucky) def. PATZANOVSKY, Chris (Memphis) 6-3, 6-2

BENSON, Gus (Kentucky) def. ASSER, Louis (Memphis)  7-5, 7-6, 10-4

LEMKE, Kai/ASSER, Louis (Memphis) def. ELLEFSEN, Nils/LAI, Kevin (Kentucky) 6-4
WALLART, Enzo/MATSAMURA, Ryotaro (Kentucky) def. PENISTON, Ryan/RAUCH, Felix (Memphis) 6-4
WATSON, Andrew/MANJI, Shakeel (Memphis) def. YATES, Trey/BENSON, Gus (Kentucky) 7-6 (7-4)
PERRIGAN, Chris/CHAFFIN, Sam (Florida Gulf Coast) def. STEFANIK, Jake/HUSSEY, Austin (Kentucky) 6-4

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