Kentucky Drops 4-3 Decision to Alabama

March 27, 2009


The Kentucky men's tennis team dropped its first home match of the season 4-3 to Alabama in a closely-contested match Friday evening at the Boone Tennis Complex.

UK's loss snapped a four-match win streak for the Wildcats (12-5, 2-3 SEC) heading into the most difficult part of the schedule where they face nine ranked opponents to end the season.

Alabama (16-3, 4-1) gained an early advantage on the doubles courts.

Kentucky started things off with a win on court three as sophomore Alberto Gonzalez and freshman Alex Musialek knocked off Alabama's Ricky Doverspike and Andrew Felsenthal, 8-5. The Tide came back with a victory on court two when the No. 49 UA tandem of Billy Mertz and Saketh Myneni slipped past UK freshmen Graeme Dyce and Eric Quigley 8-6.

The point was decided on court one where the match between ranked pairs went into extra games. The No. 35 Alabama team of Dan Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau edged the No. 22 UK pairing of senior Bruno Agostinelli and sophomore Brad Cox, 9-7, to clinch the point.

In singles, No. 111 Quigley evened up the team points with a quick, straight-set win over Michael Thompson on court three 6-2, 6-1. The win marked his tenth-straight singles victory this season all at the No. 3 slot.

Alabama regained the lead with a victory on court two. No. 76 Thibaudeau edged Cox 7-6 in the first set winning the tiebreak 10-8. In the second, the match remained tight but Thibaudeau clinched the win with a 6-4 decision.

The Cats knotted the score up at 2-2 when Agostinelli earned a team point on court one. The fifth-ranked player in the nation from UK dispatched Myneni in the first set, 6-2. But in the second the opponents found themselves at four-all before Agostinelli broke serve for a 5-4 lead and later served out the match.

Musialek and Buikema played a marathon match on court four going three sets and 38 games total before it was decided. Musialek gained the early edge with a 7-5 win in set one. In the middle set, the players went to a tiebreak which the Crimson Tide won 7-4 for the set win to force a deciding set. In the third, the players again battled to a tiebreak where Buikema found an opening to win the breaker 7-3 for the win. The UA victory gave the Tide a 3-2 edge going into the final two matches of the evening.

On court six, Alabama's Michael Jung took the first set from Gonzalez 6-4. Jung jumped out to an early lead in the second before Gonzalez came back to knot the set up at four-all. But the Wildcat's comeback was not enough as Jung was able to hold-off his opponent for the 6-4 win and clinch the team match point for the Crimson Tide.

In the final match of the evening, Dyce and Mertz went three sets to settle the score. Mertz took the first set 6-3. Dyce came back in the second by winning the final four games to take the middle set 7-5. In the third, the foes again played a tight set but Dyce used a late break to defeat Mertz 6-4 in the third for the Cats final point of the evening.

UK travels to No. 22 Auburn for a match at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday during this split home-and-away weekend.

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Mar. 27, 2009
Lexington, Ky. (Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex)

#17 Alabama 4, #13 Kentucky 3

1. #5 Bruno Agostinelli (UK) def. #32 Saketh Myneni (UA) 6-2, 6-4
2. #76 Mathieu Thibaudeau (UA) def. Brad Cox (UK) 7-6(8), 6-4
3. #111 Eric Quigley (UK) def. Michael Thompson (UA) 6-1, 6-3
4. Dan Buikema (UA) def. Alex Musialek (UK) 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-6(3)
5. Graeme Dyce (UK) def. Billy Mertz (UA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
6. Michael Jung (UA) def. Alberto Gonzalez (UK) 6-4, 6-4

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

1. #35 Dan Buikema / Mathieu Thibaudeau (UA) def. #22 Bruno Agostinelli / Brad Cox (UK) 9-7
2. #49 Billy Mertz / Saketh Myneni (UA) def. Graeme Dyce / Eric Quigley (UK) 8-6
3. Alberto Gonzalez / Alex Musialek (UK) def. Ricky Doverspike / Andrew Felsenthal (UA) 8-5

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1