Men's Tennis Opens 2009 in Aloha State

Jan. 7, 2009

HONOLULU, Hawaii - The Kentucky men's tennis team continues its preseason schedule tomorrow in the University of Kentucky/University of Hawaii Invitational this Thursday through Saturday at the UH tennis complex in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The host Warriors are ranked 55th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings released Tuesday while the Wildcats stand 36th. The teams will begin play each day at 4 p.m. ET.

"We are excited to open 2009 against Hawaii," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "This is probably Hawaii's best team ever and they could have as many as four players ranked in the top 25 by the end of the year.

"This is a top-25 caliber team, so it will be a real challenge for us to open up outdoors against such a quality opponent before the dual match season starts Jan. 23. This event is a great opportunity for us to take a good long look at our doubles and give some of our players who missed the fall season a chance to get in some valuable match play."

The Warriors are led by freshman Dennis Lajola who is ranked 57th in the ITA singles rankings with a 6-3 record on the season. In a preseason match against Stanford in November, Lajola took the Cardinal's No. 33 Alex Clayton to three sets before surrendering 6-2 in the third.

The Wildcats claim two ranked singles players in No. 4 Bruno Agostinelli and No. 37 Eric Quigley. UK also boasts a ranked doubles pairing of Agostinelli and sophomore Brad Cox at No. 13.

Senior captain Agostinelli and newcomer Quigley both won matches against ranked opponents during the fall season to attain their rankings while the doubles tandem won the Southern Intercollegiate Championships doubles championship to stake its claim in the standings.

After making its 19th NCAA tournament appearance over the past 22 years last season, Kentucky will battle through another grueling schedule in 2009. The Wildcats return all but one player who participated in the 2008 NCAA Tournament First Round match-up against Virginia Tech last spring.

UK begins 2009 ranked No. 36 in the nation, four notches higher than where it finished last season as a team. Kentucky's schedule is again one of the toughest in the nation. This year 18 of UK's 27 opponents are ranked in the ITA preseason top-75 team rankings.

The Wildcats face six squads ranked in the preseason top-10, including 2009 pre-season No. 1 Ohio State and defending back-to-back National Champion and Southeastern Conference foe, Georgia. Moreover, the SEC amazingly boasts all 12 teams in the top 56 of the country.

The Wildcats open the regular-season on Sat. Jan. 24th in Lexington when they host a triple-header against UNC-Wilmington, Wright State and Murray State at Boone Tennis Center.

Click on for the latest results from Hawaii.