Men's Tennis Serves against Arkansas in SEC Tournament First Round

April 22, 2009

AUBURN, Ala. -

The No. 12 Kentucky men’s tennis team battles No. 47 Arkansas in the first round of the 2009 Southeastern Conference Men’s Tennis Tournament at 4:00 p.m. ET Thursday on the courts of Auburn University’s Yarbrough Tennis Center.

UK (16-9, 6-5 SEC) finished the season with a 6-1 victory at No. 55 Vanderbilt Saturday. Arkansas (10-13, 2-9) enters the tourney with a four-match losing streak after a 4-0 loss at No. 31 LSU last weekend. Kentucky won the regular-season match between the first-round foes, 6-1, in Lexington last month.

The Wildcats maintained their position in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings released Tuesday after its defeat of the Commodores last weekend. Arkansas will be Kentucky’s 11th consecutive ranked opponent inside the top 60 dating back to mid-March. The Cats faced four top-five teams during that stretch and went 5-5 to close the regular season.

UK senior Bruno Agostinelli remains the nation's fifth-ranked singles player. He eclipsed the 100-win mark in his career last weekend. In doubles, the senior captain is ranked with sophomore Brad Cox at 20th in the nation.

Freshman Eric Quigley re-entered the singles rankings this week. The Pewee Valley, Ky., native moved into the 119th spot nationally after defeating Vanderbilt’s No. 106 Bryant Salcedo last Saturday.

No. 14 Blake Strode is the lone Arkansas player is ranked in the latest ITA men’s singles poll. The Razorbacks claim two ranked doubles teams. UA’s Dmitry Lebedev and Chris Nott stand at No.80 while Strode and partner Matt Hogan hold the No.85 slot.

The Wildcats and Razorbacks’ match will be one of two contests to be played simultaneously at Yarbrough. A live results link can be found on UKathletics.com. For more detailed tournament information, please visit AU’s Championship Central page: 2009 SEC Men's Tennis Tournament Championship Central.

The winner of the first-round matchup will face No. 6 Tennessee (19-5, 8-3), the third seed, in the second round at 4:00 p.m. ET Friday. The Cats have already knocked off the Volunteers twice this season, accounting for two of UT’s five losses.

All 12 Southeastern Conference teams are ranked among the nation’s top 63 squads. Additionally, the conference is top-heavy with seven teams inside the top 20 in the country. Top-10 SEC teams include No. 2 Ole Miss, No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 Tennessee, and No. 10 Florida. The twelfth-ranked Wildcats as well as No. 13 Alabama and No. 19 Auburn complete the group of top-20 squads.

Please visit UKathletics.com for a complete recap of the Arkansas match Thursday evening.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (All times Central and subject to change)

Thursday, April 23

11 a.m. Match 1: #9 South Carolina vs. #8 LSU
11 a.m. Match 2: #12 Vanderbilt vs. #5 Alabama
3 p.m. Match 3: #11 Arkansas vs. #6 KENTUCKY
3 p.m. Match 4: #10 Mississippi State vs. #7 Auburn
 
Friday, April 24
11 a.m. Match 5: Winner Match 1 vs. #1 Ole Miss
11 a.m. Match 6: Winner Match 2 vs. #4 Florida
3 p.m. Match 7: Winner Match 3 vs. #3 Tennessee
3 p.m. Match 8: Winner Match 4 vs. #2 Georgia
 
Saturday, April 25
11 a.m. Match 9: Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6
3 p.m. Match 10: Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8
 
Sunday, April 26
1 p.m. Championship: Winner Match 9 vs. Winner Match 10