Men's Tennis
No. 11 Kentucky Suffers 4-3 Defeat at No. 15 Duke

No. 11 Kentucky Suffers 4-3 Defeat at No. 15 Duke

by Ben Slack

DURHAM, N.C. – Playing in its third consecutive match against a top-15 opponent, No. 11 Kentucky (7-2, 0-0 SEC) fell in a tight, 4-3 road contest to No. 15 Duke (7-2, 0-0 ACC). Unable to defeat a ranked opponent for the third time in eight days, the Wildcats saw their three-match win streak come to an end. Kentucky is now 1-1 this season on the road and holds a 3-1 record in 2024 against ranked squads.

The match opened with a tight doubles session, with the Blue Devils taking wins on courts two and three. Eli Stephenson and Jaden Weekes held their own early, but a late break allowed the home squad to take the leg up. Court three would come down to a tiebreak, as Taha Baadi and Matt Rankin would recover from an early break and save five match points, before ultimately falling 7-6 (5). Kentucky’s ranked squad of No. 44 Josh Lapadat and JJ Mercer were one point away from a second top-15 win on the weekend but were unable to seal the deal over No. 11 Michael Heller and Andrew Zhang before doubles play ended.

The doubles point proved to be the difference maker in the match, as each team took three straight-set wins in singles play. Freshman Jack Loutit was the first player to win a match, as he snapped a two-match skid in his season debut at No. 5 singles, winning 6-2, 6-1.

Charlelie Cosnet, a sophomore from Le Mans, France, followed suit, handing the Wildcats their first lead in the dual with a 6-2, 6-4 victory at No. 4 singles. Cosnet is now 8-0 on 2024, a team-leading record.

Duke would even the match at 2-2 with a victory at No. 3 singles, as Weekes fell 6-1, 6-4. The Cats would reclaim the lead, however, as Stephenson, a freshman from Louisville, Ky., defeated his Blue Devil opposition, 7-5, 6-4. Stephenson was able to secure late breaks in both sets to turn a tightly contested match in favor of the Wildcats. The rookie continued the undefeated start to his collegiate career, now sitting at 6-0.

Duke would rebound to take the match, as they took the final two courts within minutes of each other. No. 27 Baadi fell to No. 47 Pedro Rodenas, as the Blue Devil turned late ties in both sets into his favor to seal the match. The defeat snaps Baadi’s three-game win streak over ranked opponents.

With the dual tied at three, Duke would cross the finish line with a win at No. 2 singles, as Lapadat’s late comeback effort came up just short. Duke’s Garret Johns would take down the Wildcat senior 6-2, 6-4 and claim the dual for his squad in the process.

The Wildcats will close out non-conference action after an off-week, taking on Dayton in a doubleheader on Wednesday, February 21. The match will take place at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington with times to be determined. Admission is free to the public and fans who are unable to attend can follow along via live stats or live stream.


No. 11 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Duke

No. 44 Lapadat/Mercer (UK) vs. No. 11 Heller/Zhang (DUKE) 5-4 (unfinished)
Johns/Rodenas (DUKE) def. Weekes/Stephenson (UK) 6-4
Khan/C. Krug (DUKE) def. Baadi/Rankin (UK) 7-6 (5)

No. 47 Pedro Rodenas (DUKE) def. No. 27 Taha Baadi (UK) 7-5, 6-4
Garrett Johns (DUKE) def. Joshua Lapadat (UK) 6-2, 6-4
Andrew Zhang (DUKE) def. Jaden Weekes (UK) 6-1, 6-4
Charlelie Cosnet (UK) def. Connor Krug (DUKE) 6-2, 6-4
Jack Loutit (UK) def. Jake Krug (DUKE) 6-2, 6-1
Eli Stephenson (UK) def. Alexander Visser (DUKE) 7-5, 6-4

Order of Finish:
Doubles— 2, 3*
Singles— 5, 4, 3, 6, 1, 2*

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

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