The Kentucky men’s tennis team exited the SEC Tournament after dropping a 4-2 contest to No. 9 seed Tennessee. The Wildcats fall to 14-12 overall while UT improves to 14-14.
The match started with a bang as all three courts were in a battle to earn the doubles point. The duo of Will Bushamuka and Nils Ellefsen grabbed the early lead in the doubles race with a 6-3 win over Jack Schipanski and Scott Jones. Shortly after, Gus Benson and Trey Yates fell, 6-4, to Srdjan Jakovljevic and Sunay Bhat, 6-4, to even the battle. In a match that went back and forth, No. 28 Enzo Wallart and Beck Pennington fell to No. 52 Luis Valero and Timo Stodder, 7-6 (7-4) to give Tennessee the doubles point and the early 1-0 advantage.
In singles play, the Volunteers gained a 2-0 advantage when No. 16 Will Bushamuka fell to No. 32 Timo Stodder, 6-3, 6-1 in the first singles match to finish. Bushamuka dropped to 12-7 this season and 9-7 as the No. 1 singles player. Against ranked opponents, the Princeton, New Jersey native is 5-5 this season.
Kentucky jumped on the board when sophomore Enzo Wallart earned a win. Wallart defeated Jack Schipanski, 6-4, 6-2, to cut the UT lead to 2-1. The Windermere, Florida native improved to 11-7 this season, and earned his second win as the No. 5 singles player.
Tennessee punched back with a comeback victory. No. 116 Trey Yates went up 6-3 in the first set but ultimately went down 6-3, 2-6, 3-6. Shortly after, senior Beck Pennington kept the Wildcats alive with a clutch 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 win over Luis Valero. Pennington has a team-best 16 wins this season, and is 4-1 as the No. 2 singles player for the Wildcats.
UT clinched the match with a hard fought battle that had two sets go to a tiebreaker. Nils Ellefsen took the first set, 6-3, before dropping the second set in a tiebreak 6-7 (3-7). The third set also saw a tiebreaker. The Oslo, Norway native went down 2-0, but fought back to go up 4-2. Ellefsen went up 5-3 in the tiebreak before falling, 6-7 (5-7), giving Tennessee the 4-2 victory.
Freshman Alex Dominguez was up 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 5-4 when the match was called due to Tennnessee clinching the fourth point.
The Wildcats will now await the NCAA Championship selection, expecting to make the field of 64. The tournament participants will be announced on Tuesday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NCAA.com.
Tennis Match Results
Kentucky vs Tennessee
Apr 27, 2017 at Knoxville, Tenn.
Tennessee 4, Kentucky 2
1. #32 Timo Stodder (TENN) def. #16 Will Bushamuka (UK) 6-3, 6-1
2. Beck Pennington (UK) def. Luis Valero (TENN) 6-0, 4-6, 6-4
3. Srdjan Jakovljevic (TENN) def. Nils Ellefsen (UK) 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5)
4. Scott Jones (TENN) def. #116 Trey Yates (UK) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
5. Enzo Wallart (UK) def. Jack Schipanski (TENN) 6-4, 6-2
6. Luca Wiedenmann (TENN) vs. Alex Dominguez (UK) 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 4-5, unfinished
1. #52 Luis Valero/Timo Stodder (TENN) def. #28 Enzo Wallart/Beck Pennington (UK) 7-6 (7-4)
2. Will Bushamuka/Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Jack Schipanski/Scott Jones (TENN) 6-3
3. Srdjan Jakovljevic/Sunay Bhat (TENN) def. Gus Benson/Trey Yates (UK) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,5,4,2,3)
‑ GO CATS –
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