Wildcat Men’s Tennis Successful in Day Two of FGCU Invite
FORT MEYERS, Fla. – Kentucky men’s tennis built on success from the previous day on Saturday, winning nine of its 11 matchups on Saturday morning against Florida Gulf Coast in the second day of the FGCU Invite.
“It was a solid day, winning three of four doubles matches and six of seven singles against the home team is never easy,” said fourth-year head coach Cedric Kauffman said. “Nils [Ellefsen] and Kevin [Lai] have to perform better for us to be special. Too many unforced errors, too many position breakdowns and low percentages on their first hits. We need them to be great.”
“Austin [Hussey] fought hard to come back and force a third set, but he stopped swinging and moving in the beginning of the third. He gave too much away with unforced errors, but he’s grown a lot since September. If he continues to develop, he will make an impact. The others played solid, and that’s all we need from everyone. We’ll have a good test tomorrow again in an tough SEC team.”
In singles, all six of Kentucky’s victories were by way of sweeps. Ellefsen led off for the Wildcats, defeating Ricky Ventura 7-6 (7-3), 6-1. Sophomore Trey Yates dropped just three total games in singles action, toppling Eduardo Alfonzo, 6-1, 6-2. Ryotaro Matsamura followed up his debut singles victory with a second on Saturday, disposing of Ezequiel Cerrini 6-1, 6-1.
The singles action continued with victories by sophomores Jake Stefanik and Gus Benson and Lai. Stefanik took down Oliver Landert 6-2, 6-3. Benson toppled Javier Fernandez 6-2, 6-2, while Lai beat Lucas Vaz 6-3, 6-0. Hussey went three sets before falling to Andres Alfonzo 6-1, 2-6, 6-0.
“I was really happy with the way our young team competed today,” assistant coach Matt Emery remarked. “I thought Ryotaro has done a phenomenal job the past two days of taking care of business. To go 4-0 in your first two days of competition is never easy. I see him being a rock for us this year.
“I was really proud of Trey for bouncing back after a tough first day yesterday. For us to be successful, we will need a lot of days like today from him this year.
“Austin did a great job of coming back in the second against a tough outdoor player. This experience is invaluable to him as a freshman. He has improved as much as I have seen anyone improve at this level in one semester.”
In doubles play, three pairs of Wildcats took victories, each by sizeable margins. Matsamura teamed up with fellow winter enrollee Enzo Wallart to defeat Landert and Vaz 6-3. Yates and Benson faced off against Sam Chaffin and Chris Perrigan, leaving with a 6-3 win. Stefanik and Hussey ended the day with a 6-3 victory over Cerrini and Frenandez.
The Wildcats will wrap up the FGCU Invite on Sunday at noon, where they are set to face Southeastern Conference opponent LSU. The Wildcats will kick off the dual season on Friday, Jan. 15, hosting both Northern Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky, beginning at 1 p.m.
ELLEFSEN, Nils (Kentucky) def. VENTURA, Ricky (FGCU) 7-6 (7-3), 6-1
YATES, Trey (Kentucky) def. ALFONZO, Eduardo (FGCU) 6-1, 6-2
MATSAMURA, Ryotaro (Kentucky) def. CERRINI, Ezequiel (FGCU) 6-1, 6-1
ALFONZO, Andres (FGCU) def. HUSSEY, Austin (Kentucky) 6-1, 2-6, 6-0
STEFANIK, Jake (Kentucky) def. LANDERT, Oliver (FGCU) 6-2, 6-3
BENSON, Gus (Kentucky) def. FERNANDEZ, Javier (FGCU) 6-2, 6-2
LAI, Kevin (Kentucky) def. VAZ, Lucas (FGCU) 6-3, 6-0
ALFONZO, Eduardo/ALFONZO, Andres (FGCU) def. ELLEFSEN, Nils/LAI, Kevin (Kentucky) 6-4
MATSAMURA, Ryotaro/WALLART, Enzo (Kentucky) def. LANDERT, Oliver/VAZ, Lucas (FGCU) 6-3
YATES, Trey/BENSON, Gus (Kentucky) def. CHAFFIN, Sam/PERRIGAN, Chris (FGCU) 6-3
HUSSEY, Austin/STEFANIK, Jake (Kentucky) def. CERRINI, Ezequiel/FERNANDEZ, Javier (FGCU) 6-3