Kentucky Men's Tennis Grabs First Win in Gainesville Since 1992
April 1, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - With the match tied 3-3 and the final singles match in a decisive third-set tiebreaker, University of Kentucky freshman Tom Jomby earned arguably his biggest collegiate win of his young career by defeating Andrew Butz to give No. 14 Kentucky a 4-3 win over No. 15 Florida at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday.
With the win, Kentucky (19-6, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) earns its first victory over the Gators since the 2002 season and its first win in Gainesville since 1992 when Wildcats took down Florida (12-6, 5-2 SEC) in the NCAA Tournament. UK's last regular-season win over Florida was in 1988.
"This was a really big win for us and I could not be happier for our guys," Kentucky head coach Dennis Emery said. "I am so happy with the way they responded to the disappointing loss last weekend at Auburn. They showed great resiliency in practice this week and had a lot of energy and focus in the match today."
UK lost the doubles point, but responded with impressive performances in singles action, getting four singles wins. Senior Alberto Gonzalez tied the match at 1-1 when he posted a convincing 6-4, 6-4 win over Bob van Overbeek at No. 4 singles. Florida took a 2-1 lead after No. 84 Nassim Slilam took down UK senior Brad Cox 7-6 (5), 6-2, before junior Alex Musialek grabbed one of his biggest wins of the year at No. 2 singles with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 43 Sekou Bangoura Jr.
"Alex Musialek really played well today and it was a big win for him," Emery said. "Bangoura is one of the best in the conference at No. 2 and I'm happy with how Musialek played. I also thought that was one of the best matches of the year from Anthony Rossi and Alberto Gonzalez. They both really played great and earned two big wins for us."
Florida would take its final lead of the match when No. 10 Alexandre Lacroix earned a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over No. 7 Eric Quigley at No. 1 singles. Rossi would tie the match at 3-3 with his solid win 6-4, 7-5 over Spencer Newman at No. 5 singles, setting the stage for Jomby to win the match at No. 6 singles.
The Kentucky freshman fell in the first set 6-4 and trailed in the second set before turning the match around by fighting back to earn a second-set victory. In the third set, Jomby earned a quick break to go up 3-1 before Butz would respond to take a 5-4 lead. Jomby, who was named SEC Freshman of the Week two weeks ago, earned a key win behind 6-5 to send the set into a tiebreaker. After falling behind 2-0 in the breaker, Jomby turned up the pressure again en route to a 7-4 tiebreaker win, clinching the UK victory.
"I could not be happier with Jomby and how he fought today," Emery said. "He lost the first set and was down in the second but he found a way to win that set and force a third. Then he fought hard and was able to take care of business in the tiebreaker. With the match on the line, that showed great poise for a freshman."
Kentucky dropped the doubles point with Florida winning matches at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. The Wildcats No. 3 doubles tandem of Musialek and Rossi grabbed the Wildcats lone win in doubles, defeating No. 80 Billy Federhofer and Slilam 8-3. The UK duo is now 6-1 in SEC play this season and have won four consecutive matches.
"Good win for our program today as Florida is a great team," Emery said. "We are not the only ones that have problems beating them down here, everybody does. They have a great crowd and really are tough to beat down here."
The Wildcats will return to action Sunday when it faces South Carolina in Columbus, S.C. at 1 p.m. ET. Live scores from the match will be available at UKathletics.com.
For more information on the Kentucky men's tennis team, visit UKathletics.com or follow "University of Kentucky men's tennis team" on Facebook.
No. 14 Kentucky 4, No. 15 Florida 3
Order of Finish: Doubles: 2-1-3 Singles: 4-3-2-1-5-6