Cats Fall in Singles and Doubles Championships

May 26, 2011

STANFORD, Calif. - After two members of the University of Kentucky men's tennis team went 2-0 Wednesday to advance into the event's second round, all three of UK's representatives in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships fell in heartbreaking matches Thursday in day two of the individual championships at the Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif.

Kentucky juniors No. 6 Eric Quigley and No. 53 Alex Musialek each lost their second round match Thursday in closely contested matches to get eliminated for the NCAA Singles Championship, while senior Brad Cox and Quigley fell in the opening round of the doubles championship.

The losses end a very successful 2010-11 season for the Wildcats who set a school record for dual-match wins in a season with 29. UK also advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for only the fourth time in school history and made it to the SEC Championship match for the first time since 1992.

Quigley's second-round loss came to No. 36 Marcel Thiemann of Ole Miss. The Kentucky junior dominated the first set 6-1, breaking Thiemann four times. In the second set, Thiemann would break Quigley to take a 2-1 lead before Quigley bounced back by breaking Thiemann to tie the set 2-2. After both players held serve to tie the set 4-4, Thiemann would grab a big break to go up 5-4 and then hold serve to win the second set 6-4.

In a back-and-forth third set, Quigley would earn the first break to go up 4-2 before Thiemann answered by breaking Quigley to cut the UK star's lead to 4-3. Quigley would then look to be in control of the match when he broke Theimann to take a 5-3 lead, but the Ole Miss junior answered again by earning a break and holding serve to tie the set 5-5. Both players held serve to force a tiebreaker with Thiemann taking the first two points in the breaker to go up 2-0. Quigley would answer and take several leads in the breaker 5-4 before Thiemann earned three consecutive points to claim the tiebreaker 7-5 and win the match 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

"Eric got off to a great start today in the first set and had chances in the second set to break, but just couldn't find that key point," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "He had match point serving up 5-3 and had a chance to break for the win at 5-4, but Thiemann did a great job of fighting those points off to extend the match. Thiemann is a great player who advanced to the NCAA Singles quarterfinals last season and his experience from that helped him today."

The loss ends Quigley's incredible 2010-11 run that saw him rewrite the UK record books. Quigley, who will be named an All-American due to being seeded in the singles championship, started the season by advancing to the finals of the ITA/D'Novo All-American Championships this fall to become only the sixth player in school history to play in the finals of a collegiate tennis grand slam. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., earned a total of 45 wins this season, tying the school record for singles wins in a season. The record is also held by Joe Leytze, who earned 45 wins during the 1982 season.

"Obviously, Eric wanted to go a little deeper in this tournament, but he still put together one of the best seasons in Kentucky men's tennis history," Emery said. "Hopefully, he can use his experience that he got today to make him better prepared next year. It is going to be fun to watch him and Musialek as seniors next season."

Musialek fell in the second round to No. 16 Austen Childs of in-state rival Louisville. Childs, who advanced to the NCAA Singles Championship final last season, jumped out to an early lead in the first set after breaking Musialek. The Kentucky junior would respond, earning a break to tie the match at 4-4. After Childs held to go up 6-5, he would then break Musialek to win the first set 7-5.

In the second set, Musialek began play with a break of Childs and then held serve to go up 4-3 before the Louisville senior would break back to take a 5-4 lead. Musialek would then hold serve twice to force a tiebrearker. Childs jumped out early in the breaker and held on to win the second set and the match 7-5, 7-6 (3).

"Musialek started off a little slow today in the first set, but I thought that he did a great job of turning that around to break back," Emery said. "He got up 4-2 in the second set, but Childs did a good job of hanging in there and breaking back to force the tiebreaker. I really think that Childs experience having played in the NCAA Singles final last year paid dividends for him today and helped him fight through what Musialek threw at him."

The native of Dax, France, ends the season at 28-16, including 20 wins in dual matches. Musialek led UK in Southeastern Conference wins this season, while clinching several key wins for UK, including its first round SEC Tournament win against Auburn and its NCAA Championships round of 32 win against Louisville. The junior took down a total of 13 ranked foes during the season.

"I am happy with Alex's progression this season," Emery said. "I think that he has more clinching wins for us than any other player and that really speaks to his ability to finish in key situations, especially when you consider he plays at No.2 singles."

In doubles, Kentucky's duo of Cox and Quigley fell to the nation's third-ranked doubles team of Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher of Stanford 6-1, 7-6 (5). The Stanford duo took charge early in the first set, earning two breaks to win the opening set 6-1. In the second set, UK jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and had three set points in the second set up 5-3 before the Cardinal duo would rally back to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, both teams went back and forth before Stanford scored three consecutive points to win the breaker and the match 6-1, 7-6 (5).

"Stanford came out and played a great first set," Emery said. "I liked that our guys were able to regroup though and start the second set with a break and were in control in the second set. We served for the set at 5-3 and just weren't able to come through for the win and then lost it in a really tight tiebreaker."

The loss ends the UK playing career of Cox, who is the only player in school history to play in four NCAA Doubles Championships. The native of Duluth, Ga., has been a key part of UK's success the past two seasons, helping the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament all four years, including the round of 16 the last two seasons. Cox received All-America status last year for doubles after advancing to the quarterfinals with Quigley.

"Brad Cox has been a really strong contributor for the past four years on the court and off," Emery said. "He has been our team captain for the past two seasons and it is going to be hard to replace him next season. I can't really imagine sitting down to write the lineup next year and I don't put Brad's name at No. 1 doubles after he has played great there for us for four years."

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NCAA Singles Championship Results
First Round
No. 6 Eric Quigley (7), KENTUCKY, d. No. 72 Mehdi Bouras, UNLV, 7-6 (2), 6-2
No. 53 Alex Musialek, KENTUCKY, d. No. 35 Ed Corrie, TEXAS, 6-1, 7-6 (4)

Second Round
No. 36 Marcel Thiemann, MISSISSIPPI, d. No. 6 Eric Quigley (7), KENTUCKY, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5)
No. 16 Austen Childs, LOUISVILLE, vs. No. 53 Alex Musialek, KENTUCKY, 7-5, 7-6 (3)

NCAA Doubles Championship Results
First Round
No. 3 Bradley Klahn/Ryan Thacher, STANFORD, d. No. 19 Eric Quigley/Brad Cox, KENTUCKY, 6-1, 7-6 (5)