The 20th-ranked Kentucky men’s tennis team pulled off the upset of conference foe No. 10 Texas A&M, 4-3, during the first match of its final home weekend on Friday night at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center.
“It was a big win tonight,” head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “To win the match against a top-10 team again with this young team is special. We have a lot of respect for Texas A&M’s players and coaches. They do a great job.”
Friday’s dramatic outing came down to the final two matches.
Kentucky native and freshman Austin Hussey clinched the match for the Wildcats on the final singles’ court. Hussey won his first set handily, 6-3, but dropped the second, 6-1. After trailing three games to one in the third set, he went on to dominate the next four games and eventually take the set and match in a grueling tiebreak with Texas A&M’s Max Lunkin.
Finishing before Hussey was Trey Yates with another third-set triumph. The sophomore had an impeccable service game in the seventh game of the second set that could hardly be returned and resulted in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory and a 3-3 tie in the overall match.
“The night goes to Trey Yates and Austin Hussey – our Kentucky boy,” Kauffmann added. “To be down 3-2 in overall score, down a set at five, and to win a breaker for the match was a gutsy effort by those two players. I am so happy for them. They showed a lot of poise and toughness out there.”
Kentucky now sits at 17-6 on the season and 6-3 in league matches. Texas A&M moves to 22-8 on the season with a 6-3 SEC mark.
After the Wildcats fell in the doubles point, William Bushamuka put up a fight against No. 25 Arthur Rinderknech, but came up short 6-4, 6-4.
Ryo Matsumura’s dominance continued as he picked up his 17th win of the season and fifth in a row after defeating No. 44 Shane Vinsant. The freshman from Japan won the first set 6-3, dropped the first two games of the second set and fell to a 4-2 deficit before storming back to win the next four games without giving up a point in the last two games to take the second set and the match.
The Wildcats drew even with the Aggies, 2-2, with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-2), win from Nils Ellefsen on court three. Texas A&M’s Jordi Arconda held a 4-1 lead in the first set, but Ellefsen showed resilience, kept his composure and battled back to tie the set at four-all. From there, the junior won three of the last four games of the set and headed into the second with a one-set lead. After coming from behind in the first set, Ellefsen jumped out to an early advantage in the second by winning the first three games. Arconda mounted a comeback as the pair traded games to 6-5, before Ellefsen forced a tiebreak and captured the match.
The Aggies regained the lead, 3-2, after Enzo Wallart came up just short in a three set match.
Kentucky opened the match with doubles, in which the second and third seeded duos fell.
Kentucky’s last home match and senior day is Sunday at 1 p.m. against the LSU Tigers in the Boone Tennis Complex. Sunday’s match features a pre-match ceremony for the Wildcats lone departing senior, Kevin Lai. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the presentation.
#20 Kentucky 4, #10 Texas A&M 3
1. #21 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #25 Will Bushamuka (UK) 6-4, 6-4.
2. #52 Ryo Matsumura (UK) def. #44 Shane Vinsant (TAMU) 6-3, 6-4.
3. Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. #125 Jordi Arconda (TAMU) 7-5, 7-6 (7-2).
4. AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) def. Enzo Wallart (UK) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
5. Trey Yates (UK) def. Jackson Withrow (TAMU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
6. Austin Hussey (UK) def. Max Lunkin (TAMU) 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2).
1. Nills Ellefsen/Enzo Wallart (UK) vs. Aleksandre Bakshi/Jackson Withrow (TAMU) 5-6, unf.
2. #78 Shane Vinsant/Harrison Adams (TAMU) def. William Bushamuka/Trey Yates (UK) 6-4.
3. Max Lunkin/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. Ryo Matsumura/Austin Hussey (UK) 6-4.
Texas A&M 22-8; National ranking #10
Kentucky 17-6; National ranking #20
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow @UKMensTennis on Twitter or Kentucky Men’s Tennis Team on Facebook.
University of Kentucky