Men's Tennis Notebook: Jomby Wins SEC Player of the Week

April 3, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After what head coach Dennis Emery dubbed “the best played tiebreaker in school history,” referring Tom Jomby’s clinching point against No. 3 Georgia last Friday, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis sophomore has been named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week, the conference office announced Tuesday.

This is the first such honor for Jomby during his career at Kentucky and the third of the season for the Wildcats. UK senior Eric Quigley was named Co-SEC Player of the Week on Feb. 1 after breaking the school record for career singles wins, while junior Anthony Rossi won the award on Feb. 22.

Jomby was the star for Kentucky in its historic win at No. 3 Georgia last Friday, earning the clinching point at court four over No. 33 Ignacio Taboada. The win was Kentucky’s first over UGA in Athens, Ga., since 1997 and its first over a top-three team since defeating No. 2 Virginia in 2010.

With the team score knotted at 3-3, Jomby vs. Taboada was the lone singles match remaining on court to decide the match. Jomby started strong, winning the first set 6-4 before Taboada earned the second set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (5). In the third set, both players held serve until Taboada earned a break to go up 4-3. Jomby would answer, breaking back to tie the score 4-4 before both players held serve two more times to tie the set 6-6. In the tiebreaker, Jomby won the first two points to go up 2-1 before putting the match away with five straight points to win the tiebreaker and give Kentucky the 4-3 win.

“Excellent poise by Tom Jomby tonight,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said after the match. “Jomby had match point in the second set on his serve and then ended up getting broke and losing the second set in a tiebreaker. That could have knocked his legs out from under him, but he fought back hard in the third set and did a great job of not getting disappointed or down on himself. He just continued to play with a high level of energy and that was the difference for him tonight.”

The clincher for the native of Nantes, France, was not the first in his young career for the Wildcats. The sophomore clinched one of the biggest matches in school history last season, helping Kentucky defeat Florida 4-2 in the NCAA Tournament. The win advanced Kentucky to the Elite Eight for only the fourth time in school history.

“That was probably the best played tiebreaker in school history,” Emery said laughing after the match. “It was the best I have seen anyway and I have been coaching a long time. He was so aggressive in the tiebreaker and because of that things started to fall his way. It was great to see him have that confidence out there because we are going to need more of that this season.”

Jomby concluded the weekend with a singles and doubles victory in Kentucky’s 7-0 win at then-No. 16 Tennessee on Sunday. Overall, the sophomore went 2-0 in singles play and 1-0 in doubles action, moving his singles record to 14-3 in dual matches and a solid 7-0 against SEC teams.

Men’s Tennis Team Ranked Sixth in Nation: After two huge wins in Southeastern Conference play, including its first win over Georgia in Athens, Ga., since 1997, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team has moved up three spots to No. 6 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings, which were announced Tuesday.

The top-10 ranking for Kentucky (20-4, 8-0 SEC) marks the 14th consecutive for the Wildcats dating back to last season. UK has been ranked in the top 10 all season long, while also earning three consecutive top-10 rankings to end the 2011 spring season.

Kentucky’s current ranking of No. 6 ties the highest of the season for the Wildcats, who were also ranked sixth on Feb. 7. The top-six rankings tie the highest for the Kentucky program since it moved to No. 6 on March 9, 2010. UK earned that ranking with four wins over top-16 ranked teams, including its historic win over No. 2 Virginia. Before the 2010 season, UK had not earned a top-six ranking since the 2002 campaign.

All 12 Southeastern Conference schools are ranked in the ITA team rankings, including seven teams in the top 20. So far this season, Kentucky has played 20 matches against currently ranked teams. The Wildcats hold an impressive 7-3 record against teams currently ranked in the top 25, including three wins over top-10 teams.

UK is coming off a 2-0 weekend where it defeated then-No. 3 Georgia and then-No. 16 Tennessee. The two wins gave Kentucky 20 wins for the season, marking the third-consecutive year and only the 18th time in school history UK has earned 20 or more wins in a season. The successful weekend also moved UK to No. 1 in the SEC standings with an unblemished 8-0 record.

Kentucky will conclude the 2012 spring season on a four-match homestand, which starts Friday at 4 p.m. ET against No. 10 Mississippi State. UK will then complete the weekend with a showdown against No. 14 Ole Miss at 1 p.m. ET. Both matches will be played at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex, while admission to all men’s tennis home matches is free of charge.

For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKMensTennis” on Twitter or “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.