Posted: Feb 16, 2013 6:37 PM
After advancing to the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's National Indoor Championships on Friday with a 4-0 win over No. 10 Mississippi State, the No. 7 University of Kentucky men's tennis team fell 4-1 to No. 2 Southern California on Saturday afternoon at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle.
"Obviously, we are not happy with the outcome of this match," UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. "You have to give a lot of credit to Southern Cal, I thought they played really well. They took the doubles point from us, and so we knew we would have to do a good job of getting the momentum back on all six courts very quickly, and we didn't do that. We gave up too many quick sets, which made it tough on us coming from behind. Having said that, we are a lot closer to being the team we know we can be and we still have a lot of work ahead of us when we return home."
In the doubles point, USC (11-0) collected wins on courts one and two to clinch the point, as the third match was on serve when the point was clinched. On court No. 2, Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka dug themselves a deep 5-0 hole and were unable to climb out of it during the match. Hirooka and Gomez fought back to get the match, but the Wildcats were unable to overcome the deficit.
On court one, the first seven games of the match saw the teams exchanging games on serve before the Trojans were able to get the break and hand on to win the match at 8-5.
Kentucky (9-2) dropped the doubles point for just the second time all season in 11 matches this season.
No. 90 Anthony Rossi got one of the best wins of his career on Saturday afternoon, locking up Kentucky's point in the match at 6-4, 6-3 over No. 12 Raymond Sarmiento of USC. Rossi and Sarmiento traded early holds in the match before Rossi drew first blood in the set and broke at 3-3 to go up 4-3 before he was broken back at 4-3 to even the match back at 4-4. Rossi then responded with a quick break back for the third consecutive game to make it 5-4 and Rossi served out the set with a pair of long rallies to take the 6-4 win in the opening set.
In the second set, Rossi got an opening break of serve to go up 1-0 before he was broken back at 1-1 to give USC the temporary 2-1 lead. Rossi would break back later in the match and Rossi went up 5-4 and would have the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4. Rossi fought off three break points in the final game and Sarmiento saved three of Rossi's match points before Rossi took the final point with a forehand down the line to clinch the 6-4 set win and match at 6-3, 6-4.
On court two Tom Jomby and No. 10 Emilo Gomez played a first set that saw all 12 games hold to serve as the two fought back and forth. Gomez got up 4-2 early in the tiebreak before Jomby double faulted to give Gomez the tiebreak and take the set 7-6 over Jomby. In the second set, the match was again on serve before USC clinched the overall match, and it was abandoned at 3-2 in the second set.
UK's next match will be on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET against Southeastern Conference foe Georgia. The Bulldogs fell 4-1 to No. 3 UCLA on Saturday in their quarterfinal match. Georgia has lost two matches thus far this season and currently holds the No. 6 ranking in the ITA rankings.
"We have a very tough match with an excellent Georgia team tomorrow," Kauffmann said. "I know my boys will be ready for the challenge."