CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. – For the fourth-consecutive season, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team has advanced to the Sweet 16 on the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship, as the Wildcats will take on No. 9 Duke for a spot in the Elite Eight on Thursday night at approximately 8:00 p.m. ET at the Adkins Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Ill.
Kentucky is under the leadership and direction of first-year Cedric Kauffmann who has guided the Wildcats to five wins over top-10 teams in the rankings, an Elite Eight appearance in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National Indoor Championships, and has become the first head coach in Kentucky tennis history to lead his team to a Sweet 16 appearance in his opening season with the Wildcats.
Kentucky (22-10, 6-6 SEC) three of the last four matches it has played, with wins over No. 9 Mississippi State, Western Michigan and No. 41 Virginia Tech to match on to the Sweet 16. The Wildcats advanced to the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, falling just one point shy of knocking off the Tournament and regular-season champions, Georgia, 4-3. In all three of those matches, Kentucky took the doubles point, as UK upped its record this season to an impressive 15-2 when it wins the doubles point.
The Wildcats are led in singles by No. 4-national seed and fifth-ranked Anthony Rossi, who has compiled a 23-5 record this season on the No. 1 singles court. The First Team All-SEC selection was one of two Wildcats honored with postseason awards, as junior Tom Jomby was also elected to the First Team All-SEC. Rossi has won five consecutive matches this season, with four of them coming against ranked opponents inside the ITA top 70.
Kentucky has yet to play Duke this season in dual-match play, but there were numerous meeting between the two sides during the fall competition. The ninth-ranked Blue Devils are under the direction of fifth-year head coach Ramsey Smith, who guided the Blue Devils to a 23-5 overall season mark, including a 9-1 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with the team’s only loss coming at the hands of the No. 2 Virginia Cavilers in conference play.
UK’s match with No. 9 Duke on Thursday is for a spot in the Elite Eight, which would be the Wildcats’ second appearance in the round of eight in the last three seasons.
Should the Wildcats advance, they will play the winner of the 1/16 match-up, which sees the top-ranked Bruins of the University of California at Los Angeles against the No. 16 Vanderbilt Commodores.
For more information regarding UK men’s tennis, log on to UKathletics.com.