Men's Tennis Concludes Play in Orlando at Clay Court Invite
Nov. 4, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – With an 8-4 win in the semifinals of the 2012 United States Tennis Association’s Clay Court Invitational, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis doubles team of junior Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai advanced to the finals of their second-consecutive major tournament before falling 8-6 in the championship match, to close out their portion of the 2012 fall season.
“I thought this was a very good tournament for this group of guys to close out the fall season with,” UK assistant coach Matt Emery said. “This was a break-through tournament for Juan Pablo Murra, who beat two highly-ranked opponents. It was fantastic to see all of his hard work paying off.”
Jomby and Lai picked up the 8-4 win over Roberto Quiroz and Yannick Hanfmann on Sunday afternoon to advance to the finals. The duo also made it to the championship match of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Regional Indoor doubles tournament, showing how they can compete with the highest level of play in the nation.
“Tom and Kevin had another great tournament,” Emery said. “To follow up beating the No. 1 team in the country and take out another great team from the defending national champions for Southern California solidifies their place as one of the best doubles teams in the country.” Emery said.
“We just continued to get better and better as the week went on,” Jomby said. “We have no regrets about the way we played and I am proud of the level of tennis that we played this weekend. We continued to fight in every match and thought we played really well this weekend,”
Lai, who is a freshman also got major experience in the fall, playing in multiple tournaments and advancing to two major tournament finals in the ITA Ohio Valley Indoor Regionals and the USTA Clay Court Invitational.
“We tried to stay mentally tough and fight back through adversity in every match,” Lai said. “The second round we stayed really positive with each other and we played our best tennis to win the match vs. the number one team in the draw. We really rose to the occasion and kept fighting. We were really happy with the outcome and are looking forward to moving forward as the season goes on.”
Juan Pablo Murra also had an extremely successful tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals with two wins in action Friday afternoon, pulled the upset the No. 1 overall seed in the singles draw, Chris Mengal of Duke University in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to begin action on Saturday morning. The win propelled Murra into the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time in his young career where he fell to Robert Quiroz of Southern California also by a count of 6-3, 6-3.
“I had a great week in general,” Murra said. “The first matches gave me the confidence to beat the number one seed on Saturday afternoon. I had a really good feeling about this tournament and I was really happy with my play. I think this week is really going to help me in the spring, so it was a good week for me."
This weekend’s tournament served as one of the final events of the 2012 fall season, and Jomby is excited about the way the team is playing in preparation for the 2013 spring season.
“This tournament was a really good opportunity for us to get ready for the spring and compare ourselves with the other good teams around the nation,” Jomby said. “The freshman now know the level of play it takes in the Southeastern Conference and level we need to compete at to be the team we want to be. We are in a really good spot, but still need some improvement and work to do. I am really excited for this season to start.”
UK Results of Play – Day 3
Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) def. Roberto Quiroz/Yannick Hanfmann (USC) 8-4
Doubles (Championship Match):
Michael Redlicki/Jason Tahir (Duke) def. Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) 8-6
For continuing coverage of UK men’s tennis, log on to UKathletics.com.