Kentucky Upsets Texas A&M in Four-Hour Strife, Conference Home Opener
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 39 University of Kentucky women’s tennis team battled for more than four-and-a-half hours in the conference home opener, mounting a 4-3 upset against No. 27 Texas A&M inside the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center on Friday night. Kentucky improves to an 8-4 overall record this season, including boasting a 5-0 mark at home and a 1-0 mark in the Southeastern Conference.
The Wildcats prevailed in the doubles competition, winning the second and third courts to clinch the doubles point and gain a 1-0 lead ahead of the singles competition. The Wildcats are now 8-0 this season when they win the doubles point.
First to card a win, UK’s Lesedi Jacobs and Anastasia Tkachenko ousted Dorthea Faa-Hviding and Luci Quiterio in a 6-2 decision on the third court. The duo moved to an impressive 5-1 mark this season, Kentucky’s best doubles record posted in 2020. Just moments after, UK’s Diana Tkachenko and Carlota Molina defeated Renee McBryde and Jessica Anzo in a 6-3 decision on the second court, clinching the doubles point in record time. With that win, the tandem moved to a 2-3 record this season.
Jacobs had a solid all-around showing in the conference opener, not only recording the first win in the doubles competition, but doing the same in the singles competition, too. Ranked as the 118th-best singles player in the nation, the redshirt junior ousted Jayci Goldsmith on the second court, 6-2, 6-1. She helped improve the team score to 2-0 in the dual match, while she also improved her singles record to 6-3 this season.
Kentucky then fell short on singles courts Nos. 1 and 3, carding back-to-back losses and losing its lead in the dual match. Texas A&M tied the score at 2-2, as Faa-Hviding upset No. 97 Molina on the third court, 6-3, 6-3, then Tatiana Makarova ousted Akvile Paražinskaite on the first court, 7-6, 6-3.
Meanwhile, UK’s Carla Girbau was competing in an extra set on the fourth court, attempting to rally a singles win to break the dual-match tie. Competing against Texas A&M’s Quiterio in a singles match that would last for more than two-and-a-half hours, Girbau lost the first set, 6-4, then rallied a comeback in the second set, 7-5. In the all-important third set, Girbau mounted a 6-4 triumph over Quiterio, giving UK a 3-2 advantage in the dual match.
Girbau boasts a 5-3 singles record this season.
Leading the Aggies 3-2, the Wildcats needed just one more point to deliver their first conference win of the season. Remaining on the court were the Tkachenko twins, as D. Tkachenko competed on the fifth court and A. Tkachenko competed on the sixth court.
D. Tkachenko won her first set, but it wouldn’t be enough to top Texas A&M’s McBryde. The senior fell to McBryde, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, as the opponents earned their third point in the dual match, tying it at 3-3.
It was A. Tkachenko’s match point for the taking, and she took care of business. The senior put together a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 triumph over Riley McQuaid that brought fans to their feet in the final set. She moved to a 7-1 singles record this season, and a notable 10-2 mark overall (fall and spring).
Next on the Schedule
The UK women’s tennis team will travel to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on No. 24 Ole Miss on Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m. ET.
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s tennis program, follow @UKWomensTennis on Twitter and on Instagram, on Facebook and on the web at UKathletics.com.