Men's Tennis
No. 11 Kentucky Opens Season With Doubleheader Sweep

No. 11 Kentucky Opens Season With Doubleheader Sweep

by Greg Welsh

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s tennis (2-0) began the 2024 season with a pair of wins, defeating Northern Kentucky (0-1) and Eastern Kentucky (1-1) in a Monday doubleheader at the Boone Tennis Complex.

The Wildcats triumphed with two, 7-0 victories on the opening day of their spring campaign, led by four-win performances from both graduate JJ Mercer and freshman Matt Rankin. UK did not drop a single match during Monday’s action, losing just one set overall.

Kentucky began proceedings by taking on the Norse, powering their way to a 7-0 sweep behind straight-set victories on all courts.

In the doubles session, the top team of Josh Lapadat and JJ Mercer cruised to a 6-0 win over Northern Kentucky’s Santiago Casamayor and Josef Zapletal, before the pairing of Eli Stephenson and Jaden Weekes clinched the doubles point with a 6-2 result on court three. Playing out on court two, Taha Baadi and Matt Rankin teamed up for a 6-4 win over Nick Nienhaus and Brandon Ponomarew.

Up 1-0, the Cats would go on to sweep the singles session, led by strong efforts from the freshman trio of Stephenson, Rankin and Jack Loutit. The group of first years dropped just five games between them in their dual match debuts, led by a 6-0, 6-0 win from Rankin at sixth singles. Loutit, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, provided the clinch, securing a 6-1, 6-3 result on court two over the Norse’s Ponomarew.

In the afternoon, Kentucky welcomed neighboring EKU for the day’s second match, a contest which ended with another 7-0 victory for the Wildcats.

In doubles, Stephenson and Weekes posted a 6-2 win over Eastern Kentucky’s Paul-Antoine Brazet and Kristoff Stahlbrand, their second doubles win of the day. Next, the pairing of Baadi and Rankin were again victorious, clinching the doubles’ point for Kentucky with a 6-4 result on court one over Moritz Mayer and Mario Monclus Martin.

Playing with the lead, the Cats continued to handle the visiting Colonels in the singles portion of play. Baadi finished first on court one, as his opponent, Mario Monclus Martin, retired with Baadi ahead 6-3, 4-1. Loutit finished his day with another singles win, fending off Fernando Bulnes, 6-1, 6-2. Christophe Clement clinched the team match with his win over Moritz Mayer, 6-3, 6-3, marking Clement’s first career singles win in a dual match. Sophomore Charlelie Cosnet defeated Ezven Holis, 7-6(2), 6-4 in his first career match at the second singles position, before Mercer and Rankin completed the sweep for Kentucky with wins and fifth and sixth singles.

UK will return to action Jan. 20 for a road match against Illinois at the Atkins Tennis Center. First serve is slated for 6 p.m.

Match 1: Kentucky vs. Northern Kentucky


Court 1: Lapadat/Mercer (UK) def. Casamayor/Zapletal (NKU): 6-0

Court 2: Baadi/Rankin (UK) def. Nienhaus/Ponomarew (NKU): 6-4

Court 3: Stephenson/Weekes (UK) def.  Berry/Bravo (NKU): 6-2

Order of finish: 1, 3, 2


Court 1: Joshua Lapadat (UK) def. Nick Nienhaus (NKU): 6-3, 7-5

Court 2: Jack Loutit (UK) def. Brandon Ponomarew (NKU): 6-1, 6-3

Court 3: Charlelie Cosnet (UK) def. Tom Berry (NKU): 6-1, 6-3

Court 4: Eli Stephenson (UK) def. Josef Zapletal (NKU): 6-1, 6-0

Court 5: JJ Mercer (UK) def. Trevor Ball (NKU): 6-1, 6-2

Court 6: Matt Rankin (UK) def. Santiago Casamayor (NKU): 6-0, 6-0

Order of finish: 4, 3, 2, 1, 6, 5


Match 2: Kentucky vs. Eastern Kentucky


Court 1: Baadi/Rankin (UK) def. Mayer/Monclus Martin (EKU): 6-4

Court 2: Lapadat/Mercer (UK) vs. Bulnes/Holis (EKU): 4-5

Court 3: Weekes/Stephenson (UK) def. Brazet/Stahlbrand (EKU): 6-2

Order of finish: 3, 1


Court 1: Taha Baadi (UK) def. Mario Monclus Martin (EKU): 6-3, 4-1 (ret.)

Court 2: Charlelie Cosnet (UK) def. Evzen Holis (EKU): 7-6(2), 6-4

Court 3: Jack Loutit (UK) def. Fernando Bulnes (EKU): 6-1, 6-2

Court 4: Christophe Clement (UK) def. Moritz Mayer (EKU): 6-3, 6-3

Court 5: JJ Mercer (UK) def. Kristoff Stahlbrand (EKU): 6-2, 6-4

Court 6: Matt Rankin (UK) def. Paul-Antoine Brazet (EKU): 3-6, 6-3, 10-4

Order of finish: 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 6 

For the latest on UK Men’s Tennis, follow the Wildcats on X and Instagram at @UKMensTennis.

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