No. 42 Alabama Claws Past No. 13 Kentucky

March 30, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 13 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team lost the doubles point for just the third time in Southeastern Conference play this season, and was unable to dig itself out of the hole, falling on the road to No. 42 Alabama on Sunday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Ala., 4-2.

In the doubles point, the Wildcats were up a break on both court two and three at one point with court one already clinched by Alabama with an 8-6 win for the Crimson Tide there. After Beck Pennington and Alejandro Gomez took care of business, serving out the match with an 8-6 win, it all came down to court three as that would decide the doubles point. After being up a break at 6-4, Alabama held for 6-5, and then broke for six all and put the match back on serve. The Crimson Tide then broke to go ahead and take the win and clinch the 1-0 lead in the overall match.

In singles, No. 85 Gomez would quickly put a point on the board for the Wildcats, as the senior from Cali Columbia took the 4-0 lead in the first set and after being forced back on serve, broke, and collected a 7-5 win. In the second set, Gomez again got up an early break and cruised to a 6-4 second-set win to even the match at 1-1.

Alabama would re-claim the lead in the match with a win on court six as Andrew Goodwin collected a straight-set 7-6, 6-4. Roberts trailed 5-1 in the second set, before rallying to get a break back, but was unable to get the second break back and fell on court six for just the third time this season for the senior from Lexington, Ky.

"This was not how I wanted to play my last road match as a Wildcat," Roberts said. "I just started off giving away was too many points and not moving well. I did what I could to fight back and I even had a few set points in the tiebreaker. The second set, I just dug myself a 2-5 hole and I just couldn't come back from it. This is a tough one to swallow, but we have to realize the season isn't over and we need to work hard and finish strong the rest of the way."

Kevin Lai, the sophomore from Taiwan, was one of five UK players in singles to lose his first set, but was one of only three players to force a third set. Lai, on court five, rallied to win 12 of the final 15 games and collect the final two sets to take the three-set win on the fifth court, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. After dropping the first set, Lai then got up early breaks in both of the final frames to win.

Alabama would re-take the lead in the back-and-forth match for the duration of the match, as Jerry Lopez dropped his match on court four, and fell 7-6, 6-4. Lopez got up an early 2-0 break in the opening set before his opponent, Nikko Madregallejo then won a couple of games in a row, and was able to capture the opening set. Lopez then was back-and forth with Madregallejo before Lopez was broken late in the set, and lost the second set, 6-4 to give Alabama the 3-2 lead. 

"It was a very painful loss for us as a team today," Lopez said. "It just wasn't a great day for us. We were all really tired. I had many chances and opportunities to win the first set, and I didn't take advantage of it. I feel very dissapointed because I think we could have done a lot better this weekend."

On both remaining courts, Tom Jomby and Beck Pennington for UK fell in the first set, and was able to force a third set, and able to keep Kentucky in the match. On court one, Jomby lost the first set in a tiebreak, before getting an early break in the second set to take a 2-0 lead, and served out a 6-2 win after collecting a second break in the second set. In the third set, Jomby and No. 28 Daniel Proskura were at 2-1 on-serve when the match was clinched on court three.

Pennington, who lost his opening set 7-5, fought back to force a third set on court three, as the Wildcats knew they needed to win both remaining matches. Pennington got down an early break in the set at 3-1, and then found himself down 5-1 in the remaining set and saw time run out, as he lost the final frame, 6-1. The loss for Pennington is his first all season in conference play.

“Today was a tough one for us,” Pennington said. “I personally didn’t prepare myself as well as I should have. We’re going to keep working hard and focus on our last few SEC matches to finish out the season.”

Sunday’s match was Kentucky’s final road match of the 2014 season, as the Wildcats will conclude the season with an eight-match homestand. Starting the homestand will be a match with No. 6 Illinois at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Stadium.


No. 42 Alabama 4, No. 13 Kentucky 2

Alabama Tennis Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

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

1- No. 38 B. O’Shaughnessey/Danill Proskura (ALA) def. No. 31 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) 8-6

2- Alejandro Gomez/Beck Pennington (UK) def. Sean Donohue/Stuart Kenyon (ALA) 8-4

3- Hayes Brewer/Andrew Goodwin (ALA) def. Ryuji Hirooka/Nils Ellefsen (UK) 8-6

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

1- No. 11 Tom Jomby (UK) vs. No. 28 Danill Proskura (ALA) 6-7, 6-2, 1-2 (DNF)

2- No. 85 Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. B. O’Shaughnessey (ALA) 7-5, 6-2

3- Stuart Kenyon (ALA) def. No. 90 Beck Pennington (UK) 7-5, 2-6, 6-1

4- Nikko Madregallejo (ALA) def. Jerry Lopez (UK) 7-6, 6-4

5- Kevin Lai (UK) def. Hayes Brewer (ALA) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1

6- Andrew Goodwin (ALA) def. Grant Roberts (UK) 7-6, 6-4

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