No. 37 Kentucky Upsets No. 17 Rice 4-3

Feb. 1, 2009

OXFORD, Miss. -

For the second straight day the No. 37 Kentucky men’s tennis team’s fate came down to the final singles match of the day and this time the Wildcats were victorious, upsetting No. 17 Rice 4-3 at the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Indoor Championship in Oxford, Miss

UK sophomore Alberto Gonzalez played under pressure for the second-straight match at the No. 6 singles position that decided both of the Cats’ matches this weekend. Gonzalez stormed out of the gate against Rice’s Isamu Tachibana with a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-1 first set win.

In the second set, the Wildcat found himself down a break early but evened the set at 3-3. Gonzalez won six of the final seven games to take the match 6-4 and give the Wildcats their first win over a ranked opponent this season.

“Gonzalez, like he did several times for us last year, ended up playing the final match when we are in indoor situations where there aren’t six courts and I thought he handled it very well,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “He got off to a good start in the match which I think was key and then battled back from 3-0 down in the second to win six of the last seven games.”

Rice took the early 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point to start off the day.

On court two, Owls Bruno Rosa and Chong Wang defeated the UK freshmen pairing of Graeme Dyce and Eric Quigley, 8-3. The Rice tandem of Sam Garforth-Bles and Tachibana topped Wildcat sophomore Will Beck and junior Alex Lambropoulos, 8-6. The No. 13 Kentucky duo of Bruno Agostinelli and Brad Cox led Owls Christoph Muller and Tobias Scheil 8-7 before the match was suspended.

In singles action, No. 37 Quigley made easy work of Wang in straight sets with a 6-3, 6-4 victory to even the match at 1-1. But Rice regained the lead with a victory on court two as Muller defeated Cox 6-3, 6-4 for a 2-1 advantage. The Cats knotted up the match at 2-2 when Dyce doubled up Scheil 6-3, 6-3 on court four.

Another critical match went three sets on court one in a battle of No. 1 players named Bruno. Rice’s No. 26 Bruno Rosa took the first set 6-4 from UK’s fourth-ranked Bruno Agostinelli. The Wildcat battled from behind, down 4-2 in the second, taking the set in extra games 7-5. In the deciding set, Agostinelli went up an early break for the lead and held on to that advantage for the 6-3 decision giving Kentucky its first lead in the match at 3-2.

“Bruno was down a set and 4-2 and showed a lot of character to come from behind and win,” said Emery. “His opponent Rosa finished 14th in the nation last year and is a very tough out so having a senior like Bruno in that situation was helpful.”

Rice would not quit tying up the match for the third time on court five as No. 61 Garforth-Bles defeated UK freshman Alex Musialek 7-5, 6-4. The Owls’ win set up court six as the deciding match.

“This is a really good win for us, to come from behind after losing the doubles point,” said Emery. “Rice is a really good team and ranked 17th in the nation because they are off to a really good start having beaten two top-35 teams in Miami and TCU already this season.”

With the win Kentucky improves to 4-1 on the year; Rice falls to 7-2.

Another ranked team awaits Kentucky on the road next weekend when the Wildcats invade Charlottesville, Va., to battle No. 5 Virginia on Friday, Feb. 6.

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# 37 Kentucky 4, #17 Rice 3

1. #4 Bruno Agostinelli (UK) def. #26 Bruno Rosa (RU) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
2. Christoph Muller (RU) def. Brad Cox (UK) 6-3, 6-4
3. #37 Eric Quigley (UK) def. Chong Wang (RU) 6-3, 6-4
4. Graeme Dyce (UK) def. Tobias Scheil (RU) 6-3, 6-3
5. #61 Sam Garforth-Bles (RU) def. Alex Musialek (UK) 7-5. 6-4
6. Alberto Gonzalez (UK) def. Isamu Tachibana (RU) 6-1, 6-4

Order of finish: 3, 2, 4, 1, 5, 6*

1. #13 Bruno Agostinelli / Brad Cox (UK) led Christoph Muller / Tobias Scheil (RU) 8-7, susp.
2. Bruno Rosa / Chong Wang (RU) def. Graeme Dyce / Eric Quigley (UK) 8-3
3. Sam Garforth-Bles / Isamu Tachibana (RU) def. Will Beck / Alex Lambropoulos (UK) 8-6

Order of finish: 2, 3