LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior Anthony Rossi capitalized on numerous break point opportunities throughout his singles match, dictating the pace of play and placing his shots perfectly as he picked up his 100th-career win in convincing straight-set fashion, becoming only the 15th player in UK tennis history to eclipse the 100-win mark as Kentucky cruised past No. 32 Auburn 4-1 on Easter Sunday in Lexington.
"Today was a really good win for Anthony," UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. "For players and coaches and many people who know the game, 100 wins is a very special mark to hit and it is extremely difficult to accomplish. I think this is a great reflection of his consist he has been in his career and how he has continued to battle every time he steps on the court. I know it was especially special for him to be able to do it in front of his parents, who are here from France this week. We are all very proud of him on reaching this historic accomplishment."
Rossi's win moves him into elite company, as he joins the likes of Eric Quigley, Alex Musialek and more historic legends in UK history to break the 100-win mark. Rossi now stands 100-30 in his singles NCAA career, boasting a win percentage of .769, one of the best in the game today.
Auburn (12-7, 4-5 SEC) claimed the doubles point in the match, as the Tigers were able to capitalize late in matches and avoid a few match points on the outer courts to survive past the Wildcats. On court one, the first match to finish, No. 19 Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai were able to pick up a late break of serve at 6-5 to ride it all the way to the end as Jomby and Lai upset the fifth-ranked team in the nation of Andreas Mies and Daniel Cochrane 8-5. The first 10 games of the match held to form before Jomby and Lai picked up the break of serve to go up. It was the only break in the match.
On court two, Kentucky's Grant Roberts and Rossi got out to a swift 4-1 start and had the early advantage over Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso before the Tigers were able to break back at 4-3 and then held after that to go up 5-4. With another break of serve for the Tigers at 6-5, Auburn served out the match to win 8-6.
In three doubles, Ryuji Hirooka and Beck Pennington had two match points over Lukas Ollert and Joseph Van Dooren at 7-6, but were unable to convert. Pennington and Hirooka were then broken at 8-7 for the 9-7 win by Auburn, as the Tigers took the doubles point.
"I thought we played a good doubles point today," Kauffmann said. "We had a couple of opportunities to close out the match on court three, and we were unable to come up with the big points. We were up a break on two early, but just couldn't hang on. Today was a great win for Tom and Kevin on court one and I was really proud of their performance today."
Grant Roberts put Kentucky on the board extremely quickly as he dismantled No. 105 Lukas Ollert 6-1, 6-1 on court four. Roberts got up double break early in the match at 2-0, and 4-0 before Ollert held to make it 5-1. Roberts served out the opening set in 29 minutes. After a brief hold by Ollert to start the second set, Roberts came roaring back to win the last six consecutive games, while not even facing one break point in the entire match. The win for Roberts was his second-straight win in the four slot for the Wildcats as he moves to 11-4 (5-2 SEC) on the season.
"After the doubles, we talked about someone needing to go out and put a quick point on the board," Kauffmann said. "Grant did a great job of doing that for us. He took the momentum right away from Auburn and gave us a push that we needed in singles play."
Rossi gave the Wildcats the 2-1 lead in the match with his 100th-career win on court one as he moved to 18-3 (6-1 SEC) on the season, including 17 wins in the No. 1 position. Rossi broke to start the match and got up 2-0 before be was broken back to get the opening set on serve. Rossi then broke at 4-3, and served the set out at 6-3. In the second set, Rossi won the final six games of the set to take it 6-1.
Kentucky grabbed the 3-1 lead when Tom Jomby won a tight 6-4, 6-4 match on court two in straight sets. Jomby defeated No. 106 Daniel Cochrane to collect his 14th win of the season, and his sixth SEC win of 2013. The first eight games of the opening set held to form as Jomby and Cocharane exchanged service games, before after four deuces, Jomby broke at four all to take the 5-4 lead. When Jomby did that, he gave himself the opportunity to serve out the opening set. He did so at love. Jomby found himself in a 3-0 hole to start the second match before breaking at 3-1 and 4-3 to give himself the leg up coming down the stretch. The Frenchman won six of the final seven games to get the 6-4 win in the second set.
Charles Minc clinched his third match of the season on court three as he took a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Dennis Lengsfeld of Auburn to give the Wildcats the 4-1 win. Minc broke at 2-1 to get the 3-1 and then 4-1 edge in the opening set before giving a break back at 4-4. After holding for the 5-4 lead, Minc broke at 15 to take the opening set 6-4. In the second set, Minc again came out of the gate strong, collecting the 4-1 advantage before being broken back again to square the set at 5-5. Minc held after an extended deuce game to go up 6-5, as did Lengsfeld to force the tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Minc raced out to the 5-0 lead before hanging on to win 7-5 and clinch the Wildcats' win.
"Today was another good SEC win for the boys," Kauffmann said. "With the win, we have now created some separation from the other teams in our conference, as we are now focused on seeding for the SEC Tournament and finishing the season the way we know we can. Auburn put up a good fight, but I was proud of our effort level and intensity today. It's always tough to win a match in this conference."
Both courts five and six were stopped after the clinch. Kevin Lai lost a first-set tiebreaker and Beck Pennington was going to have two set points at 6-4 in a tiebreak when the clinch happened.
Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday for its final day of non-conference action. The Wildcats will welcome No. 7 Ohio State to Lexington for a match beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET before the nightcap against Murray State at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center. Admission is free.
No. 8 Kentucky 4, No. 32 Auburn 1
Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center - Lexington, Ky.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 3, 2*)
1- No. 19 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) def. No. 5 Andreas Mies/Daniel Cochrane (AU) 8-6
2- Dennis Lengsfeld/Lucas Lopasso (AU) def. Grant Roberts/Anthony Rossi (UK) 8-6
3- Lukas Ollert/Joseph Van Dooren (AU) def. Beck Pennington/Ryuji Hirooka (UK) 9-7
Singles (Order of finish: 4, 1, 2, 3*)
1- No. 18 Anthony Rossi (UK) def. No. 34 Andreas Mies (AU) 6-3, 6-1
2- No. 24 Tom Jomby (UK) def. No. 106 Daniel Cochrane (AU) 6-4, 6-4
3- Charles Minc (UK) def. Dennis Lengsfeld (AU) 6-4, 7-6 (3)
4- Grant Roberts (UK) def. No. 105 Lukas Ollert (AU) 6-1, 6-1
5- Lucas Lopasso (AU) led Kevin Lai (UK) 7-6 (7), 1-0 (Abd.)
6- Beck Pennington (UK) vs. Joseph Van Dooren (AU) 6-6 (6-4 UK) (Abd.)