Men's Tennis Travels To No. 5 Ohio State on Thursday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s tennis team will travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday afternoon to face the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes in a non-conference match starting at 5 p.m. ET at the Stickney Tennis Center.
Kentucky is 2-4 this season, with all four losses to teams coming inside the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s top 30. The Wildcats suffered two tough losses this weekend, both coming in 4-3 fashion to top-30 teams in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend’s Lexington Regional. On Friday, Kentucky bolted out to a 3-0 lead over the Penn State Nittany Lions, before falling 4-3 with four singles losses on the lower four courts. On Saturday, it was almost the opposite, as UK found itself down 3-0 before fighting back to level the match at three all and then losing on court six to decide the match.
UK has had some success with the Buckeyes recently, as last year, Kentucky handed the top-ranked Buckeyes a 4-1 loss in Lexington on April 9 at the Boone Tennis Center. The win last year marked the fourth win over a No. 1 team in UK history and first under head coach Cedric Kauffmann.
Kentucky’s doubles lineup has been solid this season at the top, as juniors Kevin Lai and Beck Pennington are 4-1 this season on court one, already with a top-10 win under their belt. Also sitting at 4-1 this season is the pairing of Jerry Lopez and William Bushamuka, who have been patrolling court No. 2 in the doubles for Kentucky. Lopez and Bushamuka also have a top-10 win this season, over the No. 9 ranked doubles pair from Notre Dame.
In singles, Beck Pennington has asserted himself as the No. 1 player for the Wildcats this season, etching a 3-2 record this season and already two straight-set wins over players who were ranked in the preseason ITA top 50. Jerry Lopez has been seeing time at the No. 2 slot as a sophomore. The Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, native is 4-1 this season at the No. 2 slot and has two wins over ranked opponents.
The Buckeyes, who won the ITA National Team Indoor National Championship a season ago, qualified for National Indoors again this weekend, with a 4-0 win over Auburn on Friday before a 4-1 result over Tulsa in the regional final. OSU is 6-1 this season and has won every match but one without dropping a match.
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