No. 5 Kentucky Travels to No. 38 Baylor, No. 14 Texas A&M
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After ascending to No. 5 in the latest national rankings this past week, the University of Kentucky men's tennis team will play two matches in the state of Texas this weekend, as the Wildcats will take on No. 38 Baylor in a non-conference match on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET before capping off the weekend in College Station for a match with No. 14 Texas A&M on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET.
"We have a very tough weekend with big implications ahead," UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. "Our boys will have to be extremely tough mentally to get the results we need."
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After picking up two wins to start the Southeastern Conference season a week ago in Lexington with wins over No. 39 LSU and No. 47 Arkansas, the Wildcats moved up to No. 5 in this week's Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. The No. 5 ranking sits as the highest ranking in the program's storied tenure since the 2004 season when UK climbed to No. 4 at one point in the season.
Kentucky (14-2) has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation with seven matches against the top 25, going 5-2 in those matches. In addition, UK has played four top-10 opponents, going 3-1 in those matches, as the Wildcats have knocked off No. 6 Georgia (4-2), No. 8 Oklahoma (4-3) and No. 10 Mississippi State (4-0).
In addition to the national team ranking, Kentucky has one doubles pair ranked in the nation's top 25, along with Tom Jomby and Anthony Rossi. Jomby and doubles partner Kevin Lai check in at No. 21 in the nation on the doubles side as the duo has collected an 8-4 mark and is 1-1 in SEC play through the conference-opening weekend.
Rossi sits just four wins shy of becoming the 15th player in Kentucky history to earn 100-career wins. The captain is currently sitting on 96 after sweeping the weekend in singles. At No. 21 in the nation, Rossi has a 14-1 record this season, including 13 of his 14 wins on court one. Rossi has won nine-consecutive straight-set matches and an impressive 18 of the last 19 sets he has played.
Jomby is the highest-ranked singles player for Kentucky as the junior from Nantes, France sits at No. 18 in the nation. Jomby has played all of his matches on court No. 2 this season and has accumulated a 10-1 record with his only loss coming on the road at Illinois. Jomby surpassed the 50-win plateau earlier this season as he currently holds a 54-22 overall career record.
Friday's match pits No. 5 Kentucky against a very good Baylor squad out of the Big 12. A year ago, the Bears were the only team to defeat Kentucky at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center, knocking off the Wildcats 4-3. Baylor returns essentially the same team to the court in 2013, setting up a challenging match for the Wildcats.
The Bears have played 10 matches on the season, hoisting wins in nine of those 10 matches, with its only slip up coming on the road in a 5-2 loss to Tulsa. The Bears have won four matches 7-0 and also have a win over fellow SEC opponent, Florida, knocking off the Gators back on Feb. 23, 4-3. BU has won eight matches in a row entering Friday.
The Aggies come into the weekend with a national ranking of 14th and a 9-5 record overall. Included in the Aggies 14 matches this season are seven matches against teams in the top-20. TAMU knocked off No. 4 Ohio State earlier in the season 4-3, in the Aggies best win of the season. In addition, Texas A&M has also defeated No. 10 Stanford and No. 17 Tulsa.
The Wildcats enter Sunday's match with No. 14 Texas A&M with a 2-2 overall record against the Aggies, as this will be the fifth all-time meeting between the new SEC foes. The last meeting between the two squads came a year ago at the National Indoors as UK downed the Aggies 4-0 in the round of 16.
For continuing coverage of UK men's tennis, log on to UKathletics.com.