No. 22 Notre Dame Wins See-Saw Affair with No. 13 Kentucky

Feb. 2, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish outlasted No. 13 Kentucky for the second-straight weekend on Sunday afternoon in a 4-3 match which featured three lead changes, as Notre Dame got a break at four-all in the deciding set in the deciding match to take the 4-3 win for the second-straight weekend.

Notre Dame was again able to capture the doubles point over Kentucky with wins on courts one and two. Kentucky’s doubles pair of Ryuji Hirooka and Nils Ellefsen won easily, 6-2 on court three for the second-straight weekend, while the Fighting Irish’s top pair knocked off Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai, 6-2 on the first court. On court two, sophomore Beck Pennington and junior Alejandro Gomez lost 6-5 in a tight tiebreaker, which clinched the 1-0 lead for Notre Dame. It was also a tiebreaker on court two which decided the doubles point on court two in last weekend’s meeting in Lexington.

In singles, Kentucky quickly responded, as senior Ryuji Hirooka squared the match at 1-1 with a quick straight-set win at 6-3, 6-2 on court six. Roberts got up early and often on his opponent and never let his foot off the gas petal to even the match.

The new Intercollegiate Tennis Association format would very much be relevant on Sunday, as after Hirooka and Lai clinched their first sets, all four remaining sets on courts one through four went to a tiebreak at five-all. Kentucky and Notre Dame split the tiebreaks, with UK winning on one and four, with Notre Dame winning the tiebreaks on two and three.

Kentucky then took a 2-1 overall lead as Jerry Lopez won 6-5, 6-3 on court four. Lopez won a first-set tiebreaker to take the early lead, and then was up a break early in the second set and served out a 6-3 second set to claim the win. The lead for Kentucky was it’s first of the match. 

The UK lead would be short-lived, as Beck Pennington lost his match on court three, 6-5, 6-3, and then playing at the No. 2 position for the first time this season, Alejandro Gomez lost 6-5, 6-4 to give ND the lead right back at 3-2.

No. 68 Tom Jomby continued his great play to start the season, as he knocked off No. 22 Greg Andews for the second-straight weekend on court one, 6-5, 6-4. Jomby won a first set tiebreak, and then got a late break in the second set to serve it out and tie the match at 3-3.

The match would then come down to court five, where Kevin Lai was playing for the Wildcats. Lai took the first set quickly, winning 6-1 to take the lead in the match. Lai then was up a break at 5-3 and serving for the match in the second set before he was broken back and was forced into a tiebreak. Notre Dame then won the tiebreak, and forced a deciding set on the deciding court of the match.

Lai served first and held for the first four service games, as it was 4-4 late in the frame. Lai then was broken at four-all in the set, and the Fighting Irish’s Eddy Covalschi served out a 1-6, 6-5, 6-4 win to clinch the match for Notre Dame. Covalschi also clinched the match for Notre Dame last weekend over Kentucky, as he broke at 4-4 as well against Ryuji Hirooka in the third set and served out the win.

The Wildcats are back in action on Friday, Feb. 7, as Kentucky travels to No. 5 Ohio State to take on the Buckeyes at 6 p.m. ET in Columbus.


No. 22 Notre Dame 4, No. 13 Kentucky 3

Eck Tennis Pavillion – South Bend, Ind.

Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014

Doubles (Order of finish: 3, 1, 2*)

1- Greg Andrews/Alex Lawson (ND) def. Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) 6-2

2- Josh Hager/Billy Pecor (ND) def. Beck Pennington/Alejandro Gomez (UK) 6-5

3- Nils Ellefsen/Ryuji Hirooka (UK) def. Ryan Brandy/Eric Schurrenberger (ND) 6-2

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

1- No. 68 Tom Jomby (UK) def. No. 22 Greg Andrews (ND) 6-5, 6-4

2- Ryan Bandy (ND) def. Alejandro Gomez (UK) 6-5, 6-4

3- Josh Hager (ND) def. No. 55 Beck Pennington (UK) 6-5, 6-3

4- Jerry Lopez (UK) def. Eric Schurrenberger (ND) 6-5, 6-3

5- Eddy Covalschi (ND) def. No. 97 Kevin Lai (UK) 1-6, 6-5, 6-4

6- Ryuji Hirooka (UK) def. Kenneth Sababinski (ND) 6-3, 6-2

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