A special senior celebration on Sunday witnessed the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats (20-4, 8-3 SEC) secure their 20th regular season victory by defeating Vanderbilt (7-15, 2-9 SEC) 4-2 at the Boone Tennis Complex.
Liam Draxl, Alafia Ayeni, Taha Baadi, and Charlelie Cosnet were all instrumental in helping the Wildcats achieve the 20-win milestone in the regular season for the first time in a decade.
Despite facing an early deficit as the Commodores claimed the doubles point with wins on courts one and two, the Wildcats remained determined. Draxl and partner Jaden Weekes managed a 6-3 win at third doubles, improving their record to 9-3 this spring. However, the effort fell short as Vanderbilt carried the early advantage into singles play.
Undeterred, Kentucky swiftly turned the tide by claiming five of six first sets. Senior Liam Draxl delivered a 6-0, 6-3 win over Nathan Cox on court one, leveling the team score at one apiece. Freshman Charlelie Cosnet followed suit, securing his tenth career singles victory with a 6-1, 6-4 triumph at the sixth singles. Ayeni added to the Wildcats’ momentum with a straight-set win against Joubert Klopper, extending Kentucky’s lead to 3-1. Although the Commodores gained a second point at the fifth singles, Baadi clinched the victory for UK with a hard-fought 7-6 (7), 6-2 win at the fourth position.
Before the match commenced, Kentucky honored its six members of the 2023 senior class, including Alafia Ayeni, Liam Draxl, Alexandre LeBlanc, JJ Mercer, Heman Nama, and Jonathan Sorbo.
The Wildcats will return for their final match before the SEC Tournament on Friday, facing off against Florida in Gainesville. Play is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex, with live stats and streaming available for fans.
Court 1: No. 33 Casabon/Troost (Vandy) def. No. 25 Ayeni/Baadi (UK) – 6-3
Court 2: Cox/Ross (Vandy) def. No. 66 Lapadat/Mercer (UK) – 6-4
Court 3: Draxl/Weekes (UK) def. Klopper/Sisam (Vandy) – 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2
Court 1: No. 20 Liam Draxl (UK) def. Nathan Cox (Vandy): 6-0, 6-3
Court 2: No. 34 Alafia Ayeni (UK) def. Joubert Klopper (Vandy): 7-5, 6-4
Court 3: No. 55 Joshua Lapadat (UK) vs. Michael Ross (Vandy): 6-2, 6-5 (unfinished)
Court 4: Taha Baadi (UK) def. Siim Troost (Vandy): 7-6 (7), 6-2
Court 5: Jeremie Casabon (Vandy) def. Jaden Weekes (UK): 6-3, 6-3
Court 6: Charlelie Cosnet (UK) def. Macsen Sisam (Vandy): 6-1, 6-4