Men's Tennis
No. 7 Kentucky Kicks Off SEC Matches This Weekend

No. 7 Kentucky Kicks Off SEC Matches This Weekend

by Cadee Pierce

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 7 Kentucky men’s tennis team (9-2, 0-0 SEC) will begin the start of Southeastern Conference play this weekend as they prepare to play a pair of matches against Vanderbilt (9-3, 0-0 SEC) and Alabama (10-5, 0-0 SEC).

The Wildcats will take on the Commodores on the road in Nashville with the match projected to start at 2 p.m. ET in Nashville and Sunday, the Cats will be back at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex to face off the Crimson Tide at 1 p.m. ET. Both matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at this time with the current projected forecast. Should things change, the matches will be moved indoors.

Kentucky will look to continue its winning streak led by a trio of freshman Eli Stephenson, Jack Loutit, and Matt Rankin as they take on the border battle this Friday. Stephenson sits at an overall singles record of 8-0 after defeating two opponents in last week’s doubleheader at home against the Dayton Flyers. The bluegrass native is also an intimidating force in doubles with partner Jaden Weeks as they look to improve their doubles winning streak to 3-0. Stephenson is not only one of two undefeated singles’ players at UK, but he has also won SEC Freshman of the Week for two consecutive weeks.

Loutit and Rankin have shown to be a dangerous duo as they clinched the doubles point for Kentucky in match one of two against UD last week. The rookies both grabbed a pair of wins in singles against Dayton as well, sweeping their opponents. Alongside the freshmen, fifth-year senior Taha Baadi remains an unstoppable force for the Cats and sits nationally ranked at 24th in singles. JJ Mercer and Joshua Lapadat have kept up their national doubles ranking as well at 23 which elevates them above their opponents this weekend.

Vanderbilt is led by senior Jeremie Casabon and freshman Danil Panarin. Panarin has competed on the top court in singles as a freshman for the Commodores and has an impressive overall record of 9-2. Casabon has had a few tight wins this season which will keep the Wildcats on their toes. In doubles, the Commodores pair, Joubert Klopper and Michael Ross are hot on a current five match win streak. The Dores pair of rookies, Danil Panarin and Hugo Coquelin look to maintain this momentum as they helped lead the team with a recent clinch over Northwestern.

Kentucky is ready for revenge as they prepare to face Alabama for the second time this season looking to take the win as the Cats fell to the Crimson Tide earlier this year in the ITA Kickoff Weekend Regional Final. Alabama is led by No. 35 Filip Planisek as he ushered Alabama to an upset win over the Southern California Trojans earlier this year and has racked up his first SEC Player of the Week award earlier this month. Enzo Aguiard and Zach Foster are a tough pair competing in doubles for the Tide alongside Planisek and Zimnokh who have clutched essential victories in recent matches over Princeton and Rice.

For those unable to attend, both matches will feature live stats, available through StatBroadcast, and a live stream provided on TrackTennis.

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

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