Straight-Sets Sweep Sends Agostinelli to NCAA Sweet Sixteen
May 21, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Kentucky men's tennis senior Bruno Agostinelli swept second-round opponent Johnny Parkes of New Mexico in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, to advance to the round of 16 of the 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championships but Agostinelli and sophomore Brad Cox fell 6-3, 7-6, in the first round of the Doubles Championships at Texas A&M University's Mitchell Tennis Center Thursday.
Agostinelli's singles win is the first second-round win for any Kentucky player at the NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championships since former Wildcat Jesse Witten advanced to the quarterfinals during the 2005 season.
Parkes ranked 78th in the nation came to play. Both players held serve in the first set through the first 10 games of the match. In game 11, fifth-seeded Agostinelli scored the first break of the match to go up 6-5. The Wildcat senior then served out the set for the 7-5 victory.
In the first game of the second set, Agostinelli broke Parkes to take a 1-0 lead but in game two the Lobo broke back to get back on serve in the set. Both players held serve over the next six games for a 4-4 tie. Agostinelli broke Parkes again in game nine to take a 5-4 advantage and give the UK captain another chance to serve out a set. Agostinelli came through again to hold serve and close out the match for the 6-4 victory.
"I thought it was a solid match for Bruno," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "He played his type of match with very few unforced errors. I thought Parkes played a very good match; he played aggressive. Bruno did what he needed to do to win the match. I thought he played with composure and control on the court to win a tough match."
With the win, Agostinelli improves to 36-13 on the season and advances to the round of 16 where he will take on freshman Steve Johnson of USC, ranked 53rd in the country. Johnson knocked off No. 9-16 seed Guillermo Gomez of Georgia Tech 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, earlier in the day. Agostinelli and Johnson have not faced each other on the court this season.
Agostinelli is in the bottom portion of the top half of the 64-man draw. The Wildcat is just one of four top-eight seeds that remain in the draw. He is also one of only eight players to not surrender a set after two rounds of play.
Should Agostinelli win Friday and advance to the quarterfinals, he could face No. 9-16 seed Steven Moneke of Ohio State or North Carolina State senior Jay Weinacker, ranked 36th in the country.
Agostinelli reached the No. 2 spot nationally in early March in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings. During UK's final home stand of the regular season last month, Agostinelli earned his 100th career singles victory. Last fall he defeated then-No.1 Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State. Additionally, Agostinelli tallied four straight wins against 2008 NCAA Singles Finalist John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee this season. The Niagara Falls, Canada, native is only the second Wildcat all-time to win All-SEC honors all four seasons at UK.
The 2009 Southeast Region ITA Senior Player of the Year has battled 23 other NCAA selections 30 times this season while recording a solid 17-13 record. Nine of those victories and 10 of those losses were against gentlemen seeded in the top 16 in this year's tournament.
Agostinelli was also in action later in the afternoon with doubles partner Brad Cox. The Wildcats stand 22nd nationally in the latest doubles rankings.
During the NCAA Doubles Championships, doubles teams no longer play a single super-set to eight points like they do during the regular season. Instead they play a best-of three set standard match, as played in the Singles Championships.
Agostinelli and Cox faced their first round opponents on the court three weeks ago in Lexington during the NCAA Team Championship second round. The No. 5-8 seed from Wake Forest of Cory Parr and Steven Forman won the super-set 8-3 then.
Thursday the Demon Deacons swept the first four games en route to a 6-3 first set win. Kentucky served better in the second set, not allowing Wake Forest an advantage and ultimately forced a tiebreaker after splitting a dozen games, 6-6. The Demon Deacons edged the Wildcats in the breaker 7-5 to earn the 7-6 match win.
"I thought we dug ourselves into a hole going down 4-0 in the first set," said Emery. "We were a little shaky at first but I thought we played our way back into the first set. I thought we played really well in the second. We served better. The other team was just a point better in the tiebreaker."
With the loss, Agostinelli and Cox end their collegiate doubles team career with a 19-16 overall record this season.
Links for live updates and video of the 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships can be found at the men's tennis page on UKathletics.com.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for a recap of each Wildcat match from the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships.