No. 9 Men's Tennis Dominates No. 17 LSU 5-1
March 3, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After claiming the doubles point and winning four of the five singles matches that ended in a decision, the No. 9 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team started its Southeastern Conference schedule in fine fashion, earning a convincing 5-1 win over No. 17 LSU on Friday at W. T. Robinson Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
“This was a really hard-fought win for us,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “LSU is a tremendous team and they play really good at home. They just beat Texas A&M here and I really think they are one of the most improved teams in the nation. Our guys played really well and I am proud of the way we come out and competed.”
The win marked Kentucky’s eighth over a ranked foe this season, including its fourth over a top-25 team. The Wildcats (12-3, 1-0 SEC) have defeated No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 17 LSU, No. 22 Tulsa, No. 29 Indiana, No. 30 Notre Dame, No. 53 Michigan State and No. 57 North Carolina State. The impressive win over LSU marked Kentucky’s 23rd over a top-25 team since the start of the 2009 season.
The Wildcats won the doubles point behind wins at courts one and three. UK’s top duo of senior Eric Quigley and sophomore Panav Jha, who are ranked 27th in the nation in doubles, claimed a win at No. 1 doubles over 39th-ranked Neal Skupski and James Tuberville 8-6. Moments later, senior Alex Musialek and sophomore Alejandro Gomez clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 victory over Roger Anderson and Stefan Szacinski at No. 3 doubles. LSU’s No. 38 Olivier Borsos and Chris Simpson won 8-6 at court two over junior Anthony Rossi and sophomore Tom Jomby. UK is now 7-0 on the year when it wins the doubles point.
“Really nice performance in doubles for us against a good doubles team,” Emery said. “It was nice to get off to an early lead against this team because they had an enthusiastic crowd today. Both teams fought hard and it was a great way for us to start off the SEC season.”
In singles, No. 14 Rossi gave the Wildcats a quick 2-0 lead with an impressive straight-sets win at No. 3 singles. Rossi won the first set in convincing fashion 6-1, before using a come-from-behind effort in the second set to grab a 6-4 win and claim the match over Simpson. Rossi is now 10-1 on the season in dual matches, having won 17 of his last 18 matches.
Quigley, who is ranked sixth in the nation in singles, gave UK a 3-0 lead with his straight-sets win at No. 1 singles over No. 66 Olivier Borsos. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., grabbed the first set 7-5 before earning a tiebreak win in the second set 7-6 (6-4) to post the win over the ranked foe. The win continues Quigley perfect start to the dual-match season with an 11-0 record in singles.
LSU would get its lone point of the match with a three-set thrilling win at No. 2 singles by Skupski over No. 16 Musialek before UK responded with two three-set wins to seal the match. No. 107 Gomez clinched the match at No. 5 singles. Gomez won the first set 6-1 before dropping the second set to Tom Knights 4-6. The native of Cali, Colombia then clinched the match with an impressive third set, winning 6-3 to give the Wildcats the win.
No. 98 Jomby claimed Kentucky’s fifth point with a come-from-behind win at No. 4 singles. The native of Nantes, France, lost the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (6), but responded in the second set with a 7-5 win. The star sophomore then closed out the match in style with a 6-0 win in the third set over Szacinski.
“Alejandro Gomez and Tom Jomby really stepped up towards the end of their matches to win in third sets and push us to the win,” Emery said. “What you saw today is that there is a real physical price to pay playing outdoors down here and we were willing to do that today. That speaks well for our character and bodes well for us moving forward."
Kentucky will continue SEC play on Sunday against No. 47 Arkansas. The Razorbacks entered the weekend with an 8-2 record after earning a key road win over then-No. 43 Santa Clara last weekend. The win catapulted Arkansas to No. 47 in the team rankings, which is the highest of the season for UA. The Razorbacks do not have a ranked singles player or doubles tandem this season.
Last year, Kentucky defeated Arkansas in the lone meeting between the two teams. The Wildcats took down then-No. 75 Arkansas 5-2 on April 8 at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky. UK leads the all-time series with Arkansas 22-3.
Live scores from the match will be available at UKathletics.com. For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKmentennis” on Twitter or “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.
Tennis Match Results
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,1,2,5,4)