Wildcats Men’s Tennis Upset No. 13 Duke

DURHAM, N.C. – Following back-to-back wins on Friday afternoon, the Kentucky men’s tennis program stayed perfect on Sunday with a 4-3 upset over the No. 13 Duke Blue Devils at Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.

“A very good win for us in the beginning stage of the year,” said head coach Cedric Kauffman. “Beating this team on the road with three freshmen and two sophomores in the lineup after losing the doubles shows that we have come a long way from last year. The upperclassman are improving and this freshman class is the best in the country. 

“We left a lot on the table in the doubles. We didn't close out some opportunities that we had. We will go over it this week. It was great to get Charles [Minc] back on the court. I can't wait for him to be at 100-percent and playing well.”

"What a great team effort today by the guys,” assistant coach Matt Emery said. “I thought we left a point on the board in the doubles. But what a great job our guys did of bouncing back and winning or being in a position to win at every spot in singles."

The Wildcats fell behind early, dropping tight matches in each of the doubles showdowns, with team losing by four total games. 

Kentucky powered through the doubles and bounced back to tie the match at 1-1 as Nils Ellefsen made short order of Vincent Lin, winning 6-2, 6-2 on the third court. Duke responded with a win on the sixth court, as Adrian Chamdani defeated Austin Hussey 6-4, 6-4 for a 2-1 lead.

“A great win for us on the road and an amazing feeling to upset such a talented team,” Ellefsen said following the match. “We should have closed out the doubles point as well, but we fought back in singles to win the match. So proud of the guys for today's effort.”

UK responded down 2-1 in a big way, with the next two matches resulting in upsets in Kentucky’s favor. Freshman Ryotaro Matsumura turned heads on the second court, taking down No. 102 TJ Pura in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Sophomore William Bushamuka then put together an incredible performance to earn the biggest win of his singles career. The 79th-ranked sophomore earned a 6-2, 7-6 win over No. 12 Nicolas Alvarez. Before Alvarez, Bushamuka’s highest ranked win was over the 49th-best player in the nation. 

“I though that as a team everyone gave it their all, especially the freshman in their first win against a ranked team,” Bushamuka said. “Enzo [Wallart] I thought was the man of the match, clinching for us in the third. Even though we just beat a top-15 team, we need to get back to work on Tuesday. I'm very proud of the team though.”

“I’m very happy that we beat a top-15 team in Duke today,” Matsumura said. “I knew we could do it. I think I did well in my first match against a ranked player. I have some goals for my next match, wanting to improve on my serve and overhead. Too many errors, but I am looking forward to beating Michigan next.”

"I was really proud of William today,” Emery continued. “This is a benchmark win for him, and we know it's only the beginning for him.  He was the tougher player on Court #1 today."

"I also can't say enough about the two freshman, Ryotaro and Enzo, today. They showed tremendous guts and poise for freshmen playing in their first big match on the road. They are two of the best freshmen in the country, and they proved that today."

Wallart clinched the win for the Cats on court five, rebounding from a 3-6 loss in the first set to earn a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 victory.

“I'm very proud of the team today,” Wallart said following the win. “After losing all three doubles very closely, we went back out there and gave everything we had. It was an incredible feeling winning 7-6 in the third and bringing the fourth point to the team for the win, especially in my second college match. We're ready for the season.”

UK will resume play in six days, hosting the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, Jan. 23 at Boone Tennis Center. 

Singles (Order of Finish: 3, 6, 2, 1, 5, 4)
1. #79 William Bushamuka (UK) def. #12 Nicolas Alvarez (DU) 6-2, 7-6 (7-5)
2. Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) def. #102 TJ Pura (DU) 6-1, 6-4
3. #117 Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Vincent Lin (DU) 6-2, 6-2
4. Catalin Mateas (DU) def. Trey Yates (UK) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
5. Enzo Wallart (UK) def. Josh Levine (DU) 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6-1)
6. Adrian Chamdani (DU) def. Austin Hussey (UK) 6-4, 6-4

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3)
1. Nicolas Alvarez/Vincent Lin (DU) def. Nils Ellefsen/Kevin Lai (UK) 7-6 (7-5)
2. Josh Levine/Ryan Dickerson (DU) def. Ryotaro Matsumura/Enzo Wallart (UK) 7-5
3. Catalin Mateas/TJ Pura (DU) def. William Bushamuka/Charles Minc (UK) 7-6 (9-7)

For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow @UKMensTennis on Twitter or Kentucky Men’s Tennis Team on Facebook.