Cox's Three-Set Winner Gives No. 11 Kentucky 4-3 Victory Over No. 13 Illinois

April 7, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind junior Brad Cox’s match-clinching three-set win over No. 57 Marek Czerwinski, the 11th-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team claimed a 4-3 victory over No. 13 Illinois on Wednesday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. The win is the fifth of the year for UK over a top-16 ranked team (then-No. 16 Wake Forest, then-No. 2 Virginia, then-No. 13 Illinois and then-No. 15 Ole Miss).

“It was a really good win for us to beat Illinois,” said head coach Dennis Emery. “I think that our guys overcame a lot of adversity today in very tough conditions with the wind, especially in doubles. Claiming our fifth win over a top-16 ranked team is very significant for us because the top-16 teams at the end of the year get to host a NCAA Tournament Regional and to have five wins against teams that qualified on our resume is important."

Cox and Czerwinski at No. 3 singles were the lone players left on the courts with the team score knotted at 3-3. Both players split the first two sets on tiebreakers. Cox won the first set 7-6 (7-5) but dropped the second set to Czerwinski after surrendering six straight points in the tiebreaker 7-6 (8-6). Cox outlasted Czerwinski in the third set 6-3 to give Kentucky the win.

Brad Cox missing on the four match points in the second set was tough and it would have been easy for Brad to just go away and not come back from that. But he played one of the best third sets I have ever seen him play and that shows a lot of maturity and courage against a national ranked player," Emery said.

Kentucky (17-7) also earned singles wins by sophomore Eric Quigley, freshman Anthony Rossi and junior Alberto Gonzalez. Quigley claimed a thrilling straight-sets victory over No. 35 Dennis Nevolo. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., Quigley rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win 6-4 in the first set and overcame a 5-3 deficit to claim a 7-5 victory in the second set.

Rossi was dominate in his match against Johnny Hamui, claiming a 6-4, 6-2 win. Rossi and Hamui went back-and-forth in the first set before the Wildcat claimed the set 6-4. Rossi carded the straight-sets victory by rattling off five consecutive games in the second set.

Gonzalez also claimed a straight-sets victory, beating Connor Roth 6-3, 7-6 (7-2). The native of Bradenton, Fla., came out of the gate strong en route to an easy first set win, but was forced into a tiebreaker situation in the second set. Gonzalez dominated the tiebreaker.

"It was also a good win for Quigley too, who came back to beat (No. 35 Dennis) Nevolo for the second time this season. It is tough to beat a good player two times in a year like that," Emery said.

The Wildcats lost the double point, falling at the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles positions. Kentucky registered a win at No. 1 doubles where the 13th-ranked tandem of Quigley and Cox defeated Marek Czerwinski and Abe Souza 8-6.

Kentucky returns to the court tonight to take on Murray State University. Live stats are available on ukathletics.com.

AGATE
No. 11 Kentucky 4, No. 13 Illinois 3
Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex,
Lexington, Ky.
April, 7 2010

Singles:
1. #13 Eric Quigley (UK) def. #35 Dennis Nevolo (UI) 6-4, 7-5
2. #85 Abe Souza (UI) def. #44 Alex Musialek (UK) 7-5, 6-1
3. Brad Cox (UK) def. #57 Marek Czerwinski (UI) 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (6-8), 6-3
4. Anthony Rossi (UK) def. Johnny Hamui (UI) 6-4, 6-2
5. Alberto Gonzalez (UK) def. Connor Roth (UI) 6-3, 7-6 (7-2)
6. Stephen Hoh (UI) def. Graeme Dyce (UK) 6-1, 6-2

Doubles:
1. #13 Brad Cox/Eric Quigley (UK) def. Marek Czerwinski/Abe Souza (UI) 8-6
2. Connor Roth/Stephen Hoh (UI) def. Alberto Gonzalez/Alex Lambropoulos (UK) 8-5
3. #60 Johnny Hamui/Dennis Nevolo (UI) def. Alex Musialek/Anthony Rossi (UK) 8-3

Order of finish:
Singles: 6, 5, 4, 1, 2, 3
Doubles: 3, 2, 1

Records:
Kentucky (17-7, 5-3 SEC); Illinois (12-8, 4-0 Big Ten)