March 6, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -
The Kentucky men's tennis team lost a heartbreaker on the road at Florida 4-3 on the grounds of Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex Friday in Gainesville, Fla. The No. 9 Gators never led by more than one team point throughout the contest against the No. 11 Wildcats and were able to pull out the win in the final singles match.
In the deciding match of the day, UK's No. 2 Bruno Agostinelli faced No. 34 Alex Lacroix of Florida. The match was a testament of wills going over three hours and three sets. Lacroix took the early lead by securing set one after winning three of the final four games of the stanza. Agostinelli battled back in the second, taking a 4-1 lead en route to a 6-4 set win. In the deciding set, Lacroix broke early for a 2-0 lead but the senior Wildcat broke back to even the match at 3-all. However, Lacroix used a late break to secure the upset on court one and give UF the team match point.
"(Lacroix) just played a little too well at the No. 1 spot," said UK head coach Dennis Emery. "I thought we played really well and put ourselves in a position to win, but this is a very tough place to win. We played the No. 9 team in the country to a standstill on the road but it is disappointing to lose."
UF (10-3, 1-0 SEC) took the early lead in doubles action to open the day. The No. 18 pair of Antoine Benneteau and Joey Burkhardt defeated the No. 20 Wildcat tandem of Agostinelli and sophomore Brad Cox, 8-1. UK fought hard in the other two matches against ranked opponents.
On court two, Kentucky freshmen Graeme Dyce and Eric Quigley came back from a break down to even the match at 7-7 against No. 61 Jeff Dadamo and Johnny Hamui of Florida. But the Gators won the final two games to take the match and doubles point, 9-7. On court three, sophomore Alberto Gonzalez and freshman Alex Musialek also battled back from a break down to even the match at 7-7 against Lacroix and Carlos Cueto before UF won a tiebreaker to settle the score.
Trailing in the match 1-0, UK (8-3, 0-1) got on the board quickly in singles play.
No.99 Quigley took the first set from Burkhardt, 6-3, on court three and later doubled up the Gator in the second set with a duplicate score. Quigley improved to 8-2 on the year, primarily at the No. 3 slot.
UF took back the lead on court five. Dadamo clinched the first set 6-4 over Dyce but the second set went to extra games before the Gator won the match 7-5 in the second.
The Wildcats tied the match for a second time with a win on court four. Musialek jumped out early on Hamui for a first set win of 6-3. In the second, Musialek took the final four games of the set to take the match at 6-3.
The Gators went in front again on court two. Benneteau won the final three games of the first set for a 6-2 victory over Cox. The Wildcat battled back in the second to take an early lead of 4-2 but the Gator came back to knot the match at 6-6. Benneteau won the tiebreaker to take the match 7-6.
UK kept pace with UF after a win on court six by Gonzalez. The Wildcat made a comeback against Gator Eric Corace in the first stanza to push the set to a tiebreak which he eventually won at 7-6. The second set also went extra games with Gonzalez taking the final two for the 7-5 win and setting the stage for the final match on court one.
Former UK player and current UF head coach Andy Jackson praised the Wildcats after the Gators' victory, "Kentucky is a contender for the conference championship and this is a good win for us."
UK continues its opening weekend conference road swing against No. 31 South Carolina. USC defeated No. 37 Vanderbilt 5-2 at home on Friday to improve to 11-1 on the year and 1-0 in the SEC.
Please visit UKathletics.com for live stats and a full recap of this Sunday's action.
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
#9 Florida 4, #11 Kentucky 3
1. #34 Alex Lacroix (UF) def. #2 Bruno Agostinelli (UK), 7-5, 4-6, 6-3*
2. Antoine Benneteau (UF) def. Brad Cox (UK), 6-2, 7-6(3)
3. #99 Eric Quigley (UK) def. Joey Burkhardt (UF), 6-3, 6-3
4. Alex Musialek (UK) def. Johnny Hamui (UF), 6-3, 6-3
5. Jeff Dadamo (UF) def. Graeme Dyce (UK), 6-3, 7-6(3)
6. Alberto Gonzalez (UK) def. Eric Corace (UF), 7-6(5), 7-5
Order of Finish: 3, 5, 4, 2, 6, 1
Antoine Benneteau / Joey Burkhardt (UF) def. #20 Bruno Agostinelli
/ Brad Cox
Jeff Dadamo / Johnny Hamui (UF) def. Graeme Dyce
/ Eric Quigley
Carlos Cueto / Alex Lacroix (UF) def. Alberto Gonzalez
/ Alex Musialek
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3