Kentucky Rebounds With Road Win at No. 15 Tennessee
March 23, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 14 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team rebounded from a loss on Friday night to top-10 ranked Georgia with a 4-1 dismissal of No. 15 Tennessee at Barskdale Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Knoxville.
With the win on Sunday afternoon, Kentucky holds its place in a tie for second place in the Southeastern Conference, as the Wildcats are now sporting a 6-1 record within SEC play, and improve to 13-5 overall on the season.
The doubles point proved crucial on Sunday afternoon, as the Wildcats won easily on court two, and collected a tiebreak win on court three to clinch the point and a 1-0 lead in the match. In its seven SEC matches this season, Ketucky with the doubles point win today, moves to 5-2 in doubles play in 2014.
On court two, the sophomore and senior pair of Beck Pennington and Alejandro Gomez got up a break early in their match with Jarryd Chaplin and Brandon Fickey of Tennessee to take the 5-3 lead at one point and then added in an additional insurance break later on to take the match, 8-4.
After that match clinched quickly, both courts one and three were at 6-6 overall and both on serve. After holds from both sides on both courts, both courts entered the tiebreak at 7-7. It would be Nils Ellefsen, the freshman from Oslo, Norway, and senior Ryuji Hirooka, the Tokyo, Japan native, who would win the tiebreak on court three before court one could finish as the Wildcats took the doubles point.
“This was another good win for us on the road,” Ellefsen said after clinching the doubles point. “Ryuji and I did not play our best tennis today, but we were able to fight through and win the match.”
In singles, Kentucky took a stranglehold of four matches early and never looked back, clinching the top-15 road SEC win with singles victories on courts two, three and six to win, 4-1.
The first singles match to finish was on court six, as the Lexington, Ky., native and senior Grant Roberts thoroughly dominated Andrew Dromsky, 6-1, 6-1 to give the Wildcats the swift 2-0 lead. Roberts led 5-1 before serving out the opening set. Roberts then took a quick break in the second set and ran with it to take the second set, 6-1, as well.
“Today was a great day for UK tennis,” Roberts said after the match. “We had a tough match on Friday at Georgia, so to pick up a win at Tennessee on the road was a great effort. I felt like everybody came out today with great energy and took care of business. I was glad I could do my part and put a point on the board fairly quickly to help take some pressure off the guys still playing. All in all, I’m really proud of our guys today.”
Beck Pennington, who won his match on court two with ease in doubles, also cruised in singles, making it 3-0 overall in the match with a 6-3, 6-2 win on court one over Brandon Fickey. Pennington got up a break at 4-2 in the opening set and then served it out to take the one-set lead before breaking early in the second set, and led 5-1 late. After a hold at 1-5 for Fickey, Pennington served for it at 5-2 and won the match with a 6-2 second-set win.
“We knew today was going to be a very important quote match following our loss to Georgia on Friday night,” Pennington said. “We came out more focused and it showed on each court. We got the job done today on the road in both the doubles point and the singles.”
The match was then clinched with a win for Alejandro Gomez on his fifth match point on court two. Gomez was leading 3-1 early in the first set and took care of business the rest of the set, winning by a break and capturing the first set. In the second set, Gomez got up a break early in the set again, and had fiuve match points before serving out the win.
"This was a better match for me today," Gomez said. "We had a very solid match today as a team. It makes it easier for you when you're on court and you see your teammates putting points on the board. Tennessee is a very goos team and coming into their house and getting a win is a good feeling."
Kentucky will continue its SEC season on Friday and Sunday of next weekend, as the Wildcats will play on the road for the final time of the 2014 season, as UK will travel to No. 30 Auburn on Friday afternoon before concluding the weekend on Sunday at No. 42 Auburn.
No. 14 Kentucky 4, No. 15 Tennessee 1
Barksdale Stadium – Knoxville, Tenn.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Match Duration: 2:52
Doubles (Order of finish: 2, 3*)
1- No. 26 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) vs. No. 2 Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (UT) 7-7 (DNF)
2- Beck Pennington/Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Jarryd Chaplin Brandon Fickey (UT) 8-4
3- No. 76 Nils Ellefsen/Ryuji Hirooka (UK) def. Andrew Dromsky/Markus Kerner (UT) 8-7 (2)
Singles (Order of finish: 3, 6, 1, 2*)
1- No. 22 Hunter Reese (UT) def. No. 10 Tom Jomby (UK) 6-4, 6-4
2- Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. No. 34 Mikelis Libietis (UT) 6-4, 6-4
3- No. 67 Beck Pennington (UK) def. Brandon Fickey (UT) 6-3 6-2
4- Jarryd Chaplin (UT) Jerry Lopez (UK) 6-3, 2-5 (DNF)
5- Kevin Lai (UK) vs. Markus Kerner (UT) 6-1, 2-6, 1-1 (DNF)
6- Grant Roberts (UK) def. Andrew Dromsky (UT) 6-1, 6-1
For continuing coverage of UK men’s tennis, log on to UKathletics.com.