No. 16 Kentucky Continues Homestand with Pair of Rivalry Matchups
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 16 Kentucky men’s tennis team (4-1, 0-0 SEC) resumes its season-long five-match homestand this weekend, welcoming in-state rival Louisville (4-1, 0-0 ACC) and two-time defending national champion Virginia (5-1, 0-0 ACC) to the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. Friday’s annual Battle of the Bluegrass will begin at 5 p.m. ET, while the rematch of 2022 NCAA Tournament final with the Cavaliers will commence at Noon ET Sunday. Admission to both matches is free to all fans, with free pizza provided to students, courtesy of UK Athletics.
Kentucky will look to return to its winning ways, led by sophomore Charlelie Cosnet. The Le Mans, France native boasts the top singles record for the Wildcats, as he sits undefeated through four completed matches this season. The Cats also feature a strong freshmen class, as Jack Loutit, Matt Rankin, and Eli Stephenson combine for a 9-1 singles record in finished matches.
The Wildcats are coming off a runner-up finish at the 2024 Lexington Regional of the ITA Kickoff Weekend, defeating Notre Dame before falling to Alabama in the regional final. The loss to the Crimson Tide marked the first defeat of the young 2024 campaign. It was also the first time since the 2020 ITA Kickoff Winston-Salem Regional Final that the program suffered a loss in the month of January.
Louisville, a 2023 NCAA Round of 32 participant, is led by a pair of ranked singles players, Etienne Donnet and Will Mayew. Donnet, who is ranked 16th nationally, is also a two-time All-ACC performer, being named to the second team in 2023 after a first-team nod in 2022. Mayew checks in the ITA Singles Rankings at No. 56. The Cardinals also feature an All-American from 2023, as Natan Rodrigues returns after earning the high laurel by reaching the 2023 NCAA Doubles Quarterfinals.
Kentucky has never lost to the Cardinals since both programs have achieved varsity status, holding a 28-0 series record, dating to 1983. After not playing for over a decade, the two in-state programs have played each of the last three seasons, with the Wildcats winning in Louisville a year ago, after Cosnet clinched the 4-3 victory.
Virginia, the two-time defending national champions, will come to Lexington following a Friday showdown with No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus. The Cavaliers, ranked third in the nation, boast a loaded lineup that features three ranked singles players, No. 22 Chris Rodesch, No. 26 Jeffery von der Schulenburg, and No. 38 Iñaki Montes de la Torre. de la Torre and von der Schulenburg are also ranked nationally in doubles, with the former checking in at No. 8 alongside James Hopper and the latter holding down the No. 44 spot with Alex Kiefer.
The showdown with Virginia will mark the first time the Wildcats have faced a ranked opponent in 2024, after amassing a 13-5 record against nationally ranked teams in 2023. Additionally, the Cavaliers hold an 11-7 advantage in the all-time series against Kentucky, as the two teams split last year’s meetings. Kentucky claimed victory in the 2023 regular season, avenging the 2022 NCAA Championship loss by winning 4-3 in Charlottesville. However, Virginia would defeat the Wildcats in the 2023 NCAA Quarterfinals on their way to a second-straight tournament title.
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