LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Anthony Rossi won his eighth-straight straight-sets match over No. 125 Greg Lehmann and his doubles match with his partner Grant Roberts 8-6 as No. 6 Kentucky downed No. 47 Arkansas 5-2 on Friday afternoon at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky., in the Southeastern Conference season-opening match.
The doubles point was claimed by Kentucky for the 10th time in 12th time in 15 tries, as the Wildcats picked up wins on courts two and three to win the point. On court two, Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka blasted Greg Lehmann and Mike Ward of Arkansas in 40 minutes on court two by a final of 8-2. Gomez and Hirooka picked up an early break at 2-1 and rattled off the next five consecutive games to get to 7-1 before Arkansas took a game to make it 7-2. Gomez served out the final game of the match at love and the Wildcat tandem took the 8-2 win.
On court three, Rossi and Roberts held at 1-0 and 2-1 before breaking to go up 3-1 in the match and gain the early edge. The break would be all they needed as the Wildcats picked up a 4-1 lead to start the match. Rossi and Roberts would exchange games the rest of the match as Rossi served out the final game at 7-5 for the 8-5 win and the clincher of the doubles point. With the win, the tandem moves to 6-1 on the year in doubles and is 1-0 in SEC play.
In singles play, Rossi continued more of his dominating play of late. After jumping up in the rankings by some 70 spots this past week, and jumping into the top-25, Rossi thrashed No. 125 Greg Lehmann of Arkansas 6-2, 6-2. The win was Rossi’s eighth straight, and the senior captain has now won 16 of the last 17 sets he has played on the season. The win was also Rossi’s eighth triumph over a ranked opponent this season.
Junior Alejandro Gomez from Cali, Colombia, won his second-straight match of the season and picked up his fifth win with a straight set 6-3, 6-4 over Mike Ward of Arkansas. Gomez got off to a blazing start, and led 3-0 in the opening set and a double-break advantage. Ward would close the gap to 4-3 before Gomez broke at 5-3 to win the set 6-3. The second set saw Ward break at 1-0 to go up 2-0 on Gomez before the junior would fire back to get it on serve at 1-2 and held to equal the set at 2-2. Gomez then broke at three all and held his way to the final set, putting the finishing touches on a 6-4 win in the decisive frame.
The match was clinched on court two as No. 18 Tom Jomby collected a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 win over Manfred Jeskie. Jomby cruised to a first-set win after earning a break at 2-1 to move ahead in the match to 4-1 and the duo exchanged service games to close out the set. In the final set, Jomby broke at love to start the decisive set and got out in front early to a 3-1 lead. After Jeskie got it back to a 3-2 score, Jomby held and broke before serving out the match for a 6-2 win in the third.
The win advanced Jomby’s record to 9-1 on the season, and further solidified his spot in the top 20 of the national Intercollegiate Tennis Associations’ rankings.
The win gives Kentucky a 1-0 record in SEC play as the Wildcats further add to their stranglehold on the series with the Hogs as the Wildcats have taken 24 of the 27 all-time meetings with Arkansas.
Kentucky returns to action for the back end of the SEC weekend with No. 39 LSU on Sunday afternoon at the Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky. Frist serve of that match will be at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Grant Roberts continued his stellar play on court six as he improved to 8-1 on the season with a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (6), 1-0 (10-8). The match was extremely tight with Hall Fess, as Roberts had a chance to serve the match out at 5-4 in the second set. Roberts fell in the game and then was forced to serve at 5-6 to stay in the set. After holding, Fess then won the tiebreak to force the super tiebreak. Roberts got up the early break at 3-0 and took the match 10-8.
Beck Pennington competed in an exhibition match on Friday afternoon, knocking off Santiago Munoz 6-2, 7-6 (6). The win for Pennington improves his undefeated record in singles play to 4-0 on the season. Pennington broke serve to begin the match and took a 5-1 lead with double break down the stretch. The Bowling Green, Ky., native served out a 6-2 win in the opening set. Pennington was up 4-2 and served for the match at 5-4 before being broken and ultimately forced into a tiebreak at 6-6. Pennington won the tiebtreak 8-6 and the second set 7-6.
No. 6 Kentucky 5, No. 47 Arkansas 2
Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center – Lexington, Ky.
March 1, 2013
Doubles: (Order of finish: 2, 1, 3*)
1- Mike Nott/Manfred Jeske (ARK) def. No. 21 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) 8-6
2- Ryuji Hirooka/Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Greg Lehmann/Mike Wark (ARK) 8-2
3- Anthony Rossi/Grant Roberts (UK) def. Hall Fess/Santiago Munoz (ARK) 8-6
Singles: (Order of finish: 1, 3, 2*, 4, 5, 6)
1- No. 21 Anthony Rossi (UK) def. No. 125 Greg Lehmann (ARK) 6-2, 6-2
2- No. 18 Tom Jomby (UK) def. Manfred Jeske (ARK) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
3- Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Mike Ward (ARK) 6-3, 6-4
4- Mike Nott (ARK) def. Charles Minc (UK) 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3
5- Victor Hoang (ARK) def. Juan Pablo Murra (UK) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8)
6- Grant Roberts (UK) def Hall Fess (ARK) 7-6 (3), 6-7 (6), 1-0 (10-7)
7*- Beck Pennington (UK) def. Santiago Munoz (ARK) 6-2, 7-6 (6)
For continuing coverage of UK men’s tennis, log on to UKathletics.com.