University of Kentucky Team Page
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind an 8-4 victory in the shootout round, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis doubles pair of Ryuji Hirooka and Maks Gold captured the doubles title at the Bulldog Invitational on Sunday afternoon after a weekend of competition in the Peach State.
“By far the biggest highlight of the weekend was the doubles pairing of Maks and Ryuji,” UK volunteer assistant coach Rob Silver said. “I thought that they played some really good, composed, smart tennis that led to the wins.”
Gold and Hirooka were crowned the champs thanks to an 8-4 victory over Rigerio Ribiero and Roger Oredig of East Tennessee State University on Sunday afternoon. Over the weekend, the duo went 3-0, claiming wins over Eric Diaz and Garrett Brasseaux of the University of Georgia 8-5 on Saturday, in addition to claiming a 9-7 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide’s Rens van der Vis and Harris Barnard.
In singles action, Gold was once again in the spotlight, recording a 3-1 record and advancing to the shootout final of the tournament. Gold beat Pedro Dumont of Mississippi State 7-6(2), 6-1 on Friday afternoon, as well as slicing through Alabama’s Brian Conlon 6-1, 6-0. On Sunday in singles, Gold knocked off Marco Nunez of Georgia, 6-3, 6-1 in addition to defeating Mississippi State’s Zach White 12-10 in the shootout.
“I played really well this weekend,” Gold said. “This is my second tournament of the fall and I was happy with how I played. Everything came together today. All the coaches want me to just stay focused on the court and I thought I did a good job with that all throughout the weekend. It felt good to play well this weekend and for everything to come together.”
“Maks was really the highlight for us on the singles side of things,” Silver said. “He not only went 3-1 this weekend, but played really focused and aggressive tennis. It was by far the best tennis I have seen him play in the fall.”
Hirooka also fared well in singles, picking up a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Georgia’s Eric Diaz on Friday to start his tournament. Hirooka stayed undefeated on the weekend with a 6-4, 6-0 straight-set result over Rens van der Vis of Alabama on Saturday. A 6-2, 7-6(4) win for Garrett Brasseaux of UGA ended his singles run.
“I have been playing really well the past few weeks in practice and these few week of competition,” Hirooka said. “We started out a little bit slow, and really worked on playing better as the week went on. I was pleased with how I played this weekend.“
“Overall, I thought we did well. It was a bit of a slow start for us, but I thought the players bounced back and got better and better as the tournament went on. Today was by far our best day of the tournament and it was good to end on a high note.” Silver said.