Kentucky Blanks Butler, Advances to NCAA Second Round
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rainy conditions forced 11th-ranked Kentucky’s match into the Boone Indoor Tennis Center, but the Cats (19-9) took a liking to the dry conditions, eliminating Butler by a 4-0 count Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament.
The Cats started by capturing a hotly-contested doubles point. Kentucky’s Nate Emge and Tigran Martirosyan claimed an 8-3 victory at third doubles over Butler’s Adam Bordow and Mike Weaver, though Butler rallied with a win at the No. 2 slot. UK’s Rahim Esmail and Jesse Witten took an early lead but fell behind to the Bulldogs’ Kevin and Brandon Gill. However, Kentucky’s 14th-ranked pair bounced back for an 8-6 victory to clinch the Wildcat doubles point.
Kentucky needed just under 90 minutes to finish off the Bulldogs in singles play. UK’s Martirosyan scored an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory over James Low to extend the Wildcat lead to 2-0. Minutes later, Kentucky’s Emge followed suit with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Andy Bartish. UK’s Evan Austin capped the victory with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Brandon Gill to send Kentucky into the regional final.
Kentucky will meet No. 16 TCU in Sunday’s regional final. The Horned Frogs dealt No. 67 East Tennessee State a 4-1 loss in the day’s second match to advance to the final. The match is set for 1 p.m. EDT at UK’s Boone Tennis Complex. Live scoring will be available at www.ukathletics.com. The regional final winner advances to the 2004 NCAA Sweet 16 beginning Saturday, May 22 in Tulsa, Okla.
No. 11 Kentucky 4, Butler 0 Doubles 1. Esmail/Witten (UK) def. Gill/Gill (BU) - 8-6 2. Bartish/Low (BU) def. Austin/Hume (UK) - 8-5 3. Emge/Martirosyan (UK) def. Bordow/Weaver (BU) - 8-3
Singles 1. Jesse Witten (UK) led Kevin Gill (BU) - 6-2, 6-7(5), 1-0 susp. 2. Evan Austin (UK) def. Brandon Gill (BU) - 6-3, 6-3 3. Tigran Martirosyan (UK) def. James Low (BU) - 6-2, 6-1 4. Nate Emge (UK) def. Andy Bartish (BU) - 6-2, 6-0 5. Rahim Esmail (UK) vs. Mike Weaver (BU) - 5-0, susp. 6. Alex Hume (UK) vs. Evan West (BU) - 4-1 susp.