Wildcats Continue SEC Action at No. 18 Florida

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After having a 10-match winning streak broken by the reigning national champion, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 19 Kentucky women’s tennis will look to right the ship on Thursday with a Southeastern Conference matchup against No. 18 Florida.  The Wildcats are slated to take on the Gators at 5 p.m. ET in Gainesville, Fla.

Headlining the Wildcat lineup is the duo of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi, who are ranked as the No. 5 doubles team in the country after bursting onto the national scene with a preseason top-10 ranking for the first time in their careers.  Sutjiadi is also Kentucky’s lone ranked player, sitting at No. 42 after jumping up more than 50 spots from the latest singles rankings.

Should her success continue, UK could also see a ranking in the near future for freshman standout Justina Mikulskytė.  The rookie is part of a Lithuanian duo, along with Akvilė Paražinsaitė, which has been racking up multiple wins with just four losses between the two throughout 21 singles matches.  Mikulskytė has worked her way into the No. 1 spot for the Wildcats, playing the last nine matches as UK’s top singles player.  Also having a dominant year is senior Nadia Ravita, who has moved into the No. 3 spot for the 2016 season and has posted an 8-2 record. 

Florida holds a 7-2 record, including a 2-0 mark in SEC play with recent wins over No. 33 Arkansas, 7-0, and No. 60 Missouri, 6-1.  Both losses came in 4-3 decisions to top-25 teams, falling to No. 1 California on Feb. 26 and No. 23 Stanford on Feb. 28.  Last year, Florida advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship, falling in a 4-3 decision to eventual national champion Vanderbilt.

The Gators have an impressive number of ranked players, with six of their athletes in the top-125 of the latest Oracle/ITA rankings.  Belinda Woolcock leads the way at No. 5, who holds a 5-1 record that includes three ranked wins playing at the No. 2 spot.   Brooke Austin is the primary No. 1 singles player, with a 6-2 record that includes four ranked wins leading to a No. 15 national ranking.  The Gators have seen some shuffling in the No. 3-6 spots throughout the season, but boast a lineup that includes No. 37 Kourtney Keegan, No. 81 Anna Danilina, No. 108 Josie Kuhlman and No. 121 Brianna Morgan.  Five of the six ranked singles players also have national experience, earning a spot in the 2015 NCAA Singles Championship bracket.  Kuhlman made it the farthest into the tournament, falling in the semifinals to Stanford’s Caro Zhao.  Woolcock advanced to the Round of 32, while Austin, Keegan and Morgan fell in the Round of 64.

Florida also has a strong arsenal of doubles teams, with four pairing ranked by the ITA.  Austin and Keegan are the No. 7-ranked pairing in the nation with an 8-1 record at No. 1 doubles, with their only loss coming against No. 3 Taylor Davidson/Caroline Doyle of Stanford.  The pair also appeared in the NCAA Doubles Championship last year, falling in the semifinals to Cal’s Klara Fabikova/Zsofi Susanyi, the duo that knocked out Adachi and Sutjiadi in the Round of 16.  Kuhlman and Woolcock play in the No. 2 singles spot and sport a 5-0 record this season.  The last loss for the 22nd-ranked duo came at the hands of Adachi and Sutjiadi in the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in a 6-2, 6-4 decision.  Also ranked for the Gators are No. 42 Spencer Liang/Peggy Porter and No. 58 Danilina/Morgan, who have split time at the No. 3 spot this year.

Live stats for Sunday’s match will be available here.

Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky women’s tennis team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info, notes, and behind-the-scenes updates, follow the team on Twitter at @UKWomensTennis and on Facebook.