SEATTLE, Wash. – After winning the doubles point for the ninth time in 10 matches, and picking up wins on courts two, five and six in singles, the No. 7 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team defeated No. 10 Mississippi State 4-0 in the Sweet 16 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National Indoor Championships at the Seattle Tennis Club in Seattle, Wash.
“This is a really good win for our team today,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “Mississippi State is a very good team and a team that we have a lot of respect for. We came out today with a lot of intensity and really played well as a team overall. Our boys have a lot of work left still to do, but this was a very good match today. I am really looking forward to seeing how we come out tomorrow against an excellent USC team.”
In the doubles competition, Kentucky earned the point for the ninth time in 10 tries as UK collected wins on courts one and two. On court one, No. 34 Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai picked up a swift 8-3 win as the duo collected multiple breaks of serve in the match en route to the win. UK broke at 2-1 in the match and never looked back, even leading 6-1 at one point in the match.
On court two in the doubles, Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka picked up a break at 4-3 and won the final five games of the match to clinch the 8-3 win and give Kentucky the doubles point. Gomez and Hirooka took charge of the match at 3-3, as the Wildcats were able to hit some terrific volleys at the net and some amazing passing shots down the line in the later stages of the match.
In singles play, Tom Jomby advanced his record to 8-1 overall in singles play as the junior blasted No. 43 Malte Stroppe of Mississippi State 6-2, 6-0. Jomby and Stroppe were on serve at 2-2 in the opening set as Jomby picked up the break and didn’t look back as the junior rattled off the final 10 games of the match. Jomby’s 6-0 win in the second set was the fourth time this season that he has won a set without the opponent getting a game in a set.
After UK took the 2-0 lead, the Wildcats stretched their advantage to a 3-0 mark when Kevin Lai took the win on court six 6-3, 6-4. Lai was inserted into the singles line-up in the six spot and took full advantage. The freshman from Taiwan was down a break at 4-2 in the second set before he buckled down and took the final four games of the match to take the second set 6-4 and give the Wildcats the 3-0 lead overall in the match.
Shortly after UK took the 3-0 lead, junior Grant Roberts capped off the shutout with a 6-2, 6-2 win on court five to give UK the win. Roberts took total control of the match in the first set, dictating the pace of play and getting up double break early in the set. In the second set, his opponent, Stefan Vinit of Mississippi State had Roberts at 2-2 before Roberts broke and held on to win the last four games of the set to give UK the 4-0 win and advance them into the Elite Eight.
With the win, Kentucky advances to the Elite Eight of the National Indoors and the Wildcats will take on the Southern California Trojans who enter this weekend as the No. 2 team in the nation and the second seed in the tournament. The match time is still undermined and will be announced at the end of play on Friday.
On court one, No. 90 Anthony Rossi was up 5-4 and serving for the set before No. 19 Romain Bogaerts of Mississippi State broke Rossi and held to make it 6-5. Rossi held in the final game of the set to force the tiebreaker at 6-6. In the tiebreak, Rossi and Bogaerts were knotted up at 5-5 before Boegarts picked up the final two points to glide past Rossi in the opening set. Rossi dropped his serve to start the final set, before breaking back and earning a break at 2-1 to go up 3-1, where the match was abandoned.
On court three, Alejandro Gomez was facing off against James Chaudry of Mississippi State. Gomez and Chaudry traded games back and forth in the first set of the match, as there was not a break of serve for the first 10 games. Gomez was strong in the 11th game of the match, picking up the break at 5-5 and serving out the set at 6-5. In the second set, Gomez fell down two breaks and ultimately dropped the second set 6-2 before the match was abandoned.
2012 marks the second consecutive season that UK has advanced to the Elite Eight, as in 2012 the Wildcats downed Texas A&M 4-0 in the opening round of play at the Sweet 16 in Charlottesville, Va.
No. 7 Kentucky 4, No. 10 Mississippi State 0
Seattle Tennis Club – Seattle, Washington
February 15, 2013
Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 2*)
1- No. 34 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) def. No. 13 Jordan Angus/Malte Stropp (MSU) 8-3
2- Alejandro Gomez/Ryuji Hirooka (UK) def. Ethan Wilkinson/Zach White (MSU) 8-3
3- Grant Roberts/Anthnoy Rossi led Pedro Dumont/Romain Bogaerts (MSU) 6-4
Singles (Order of finish: 2, 6, 5*)
1- No. 90 Anthony Rossi (UK) trailed No. 19 Romain Bogaerts (MSU) 7-6 (5), 3-1 abd.
2- No. 29 Tom Jomby (UK) def. No. 43 Malte Stroppe (MSU) 6-2, 6-0
3- Alejandro Gomez (UK) vs. James Chaudry (MSU) 7-5, 2-6, abd.
4- Charles Minc (UK) trailed Jordan Angus (MSU) 6-2, 5-4 abd.
5- Grant Roberts (UK) def. Stefan Vinti (MSU) 6-2, 6-2
6- Kevin Lai (UK) def. Pedro Dumont 6-3, 6-4
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