Jan 20, 2013 8:08 PM
The University of Kentucky men's tennis team began the 2013 season on Sunday afternoon with two 7-0 wins, as the Wildcats knocked off Northern Kentucky and Morehead State to improve to 2-0 on the season at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky. The pair of wins are the first for head coach Cedric Kauffmann as the man in charge of the Wildcats.
"I am happy with the way our freshman played today and the way we played as a team," Kauffmann said after obtaining his first two wins as the head coach of the men's tennis team. "I thought our focus and intensity was on the right track and we kept our head in the match for its entirety."
In the season-opening match, the Wildcats dismissed the Northern Kentucky Norse 7-0 after claiming every set of the match it its favor. Kentucky picked up the doubles point with two wins from of their top doubles teams. No. 35 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai won on court No. 1 with an 8-1 win, which was followed veryquickly by a victorious duo of Anthony Rossi and Grant Roberts who won their match 8-0 to clinch the doubles point for Kentucky. Also in doubles action,Alejandro Gomez and freshman Beck Pennington came out victorious as they knocked off Balint Zsidai and Jody Mahinley of NKU 8-4.
"I was really pleased with our doubles play," Kauffmann said. "Doubles was something that we had been stressing in practice, so it was nice to see theplayers transfer that dedication and effort in practice to the match."
Singles were much of the same for the Wildcats, as UK did not drop a single set in all six matches played. The highlights of singles were Beck Pennington and JuanPablo Murra for the Cats, as combined, they only lost two games in four sets. At No. 4 singles, Murra defeated Andre Correa of NKU 6-0, 6-1. Earning his first-career NCAA dual match win was Pennington who decisively won 6-1, 6-0 on court No. 6.
Senior captain Anthony Rossi turned in a solid performance at the No. 1 position, claiming the match 6-1, 6-3. Rossi was one of four UK players to win in both singles and doubles in the opening match. Joining Rossi in that ring was Kevin Lai, Gomez and Pennington.
Lai, a native of Taiwan, earned his first-career win as a Wildcat in straight sets as well, claiming a 7-6, 6-4 win on No. 2 singles versus Guillaume Berman of NKU.
"I thought we did a really good job of jumping out from the opening ball," UK assistant coach Matt Emery said." We were ready to go from the start and we did a good job of keeping our intensity and focus throughout the whole match."
In the nightcap, Kentucky had more of the same effort and intensity as UK downed the Morehead State Eagles 7-0.
The Wildcats jumped out to the doubles point quickly, earning wins on courts one and three to clinch the point. Jomby and Lai yet again had a quality outing, solidifying their ranking as No. 35 in the nation winning their match over Ji Hoon Heo and Giovanni Samaha 8-0, as the UK doubles pair won 16 of the 17 games they played on Sunday in competition.
Also earning wins in doubles was Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka, who took an 8-3 resultfrom Hugo Almonte and Nathan Martin of Morehead. In addition, the 3-0 doubles sweep was capped by an 8-0 blanking by Panav Jha and Maks Gold who catapulted over Kevin Deligny and David Clifford of the Eagles for the win.
In singles, Kentucky showed its versatility in its line-up as all 12 players on the roster recorded wins today. The Wildcats won the opening set in four of the six singles matches (Courts 1,2,3 and 4) by a scored of 6-0, as UK won the first 24 games of the match.
Gaining wins for UK in singles over Morehead on courts one through four were No. 94 Rossi (6-0, 6-1), No. 15 Jomby (6-0, 6-0), Gold (6-0, 6-1), Murra (6-0, 6-0).
Capping off the night was Roberts and Hirooka who played No. 5 and No. 6 doubles respectfully. In the No. 5 slot, Roberts took the match over Giovanni Samaha of MSU 6-2, 6-3, while Hirooka took claim to a 6-0, 6-1 singles win over the Eagles Hugo Almonta.
Kentucky will next face off against the No. 22 Indiana Hoosiers on Wednesday in Bloomington, Ind., for their first road match of the season. The match in Bloomington will start at 2:00 p.m. ET.
"Our schedule now becomes a lot tougher," Kauffmann said. " We are excited to have the opportunity to go on the road in a tough environment and play a very good Indiana team that is ranked in the top-25."