Men's Tennis
Wildcats Take On Florida Gators in Top-30 Showdown

Wildcats Take On Florida Gators in Top-30 Showdown

by Aliyah McDaniel

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 5 Kentucky men’s tennis team (11-2, 2-0 SEC) will continue Southeastern Conference play this Friday as they take on the No. 27 Florida Gators (6-4, 2-0 SEC) at 5 p.m. ET at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. Admission is free to the public with free pizza available to fans. 

Kentucky is coming off back-to-back SEC wins last weekend. In their first SEC road match, against then No. 45 Vanderbilt, Kentucky surged to a 6-1 victory. For the seventh time this season, Kentucky nabbed the doubles point, thanks to the freshmen pairing of Matt Rankin and Jack Loutit, who won their court 6-3, while JJ Mercer and Joshua Lapadat claimed a 6-2 victory on the top court. 

Lapadat was the first to add a singles’ point with a 6-3, 6-2 triumph. Following suit was sophomore Charlelie Cosnet, with a straight-set win on court four. After the Commodores added their only point of the match on court one, freshman Jack Loutit clinched the match for the Cats, coming back from a first set defeat and ultimately claiming the victory, 2-6, 6-0, 6-1. The two teams elected to play out, allowing sophomore Jaden Weekes to recover from an opening-set tiebreak loss and earn his fifth singles win of the season. Stephenson closed the match on court six with a straight set win, continuing his unbeaten start to his collegiate career. 

In the Conference home opener on Sunday, the top-25 showdown between Kentucky and Alabama ended with the Wildcats as victors, avenging their loss to the Crimson Tide earlier this season during the ITA Kickoff Weekend Regional Final. The doubles play was similar to Friday’s matchup, with Rankin and Loutit winning on court three, followed by a win at single’s one courtesy Mercer and Lapadat. 

In the home performance, Weekes was first to add a singles point, winning his court 6-4, 6-1. Loutit finished next, winning in 6-2, 6-3 sets. Fifth-Year Taha Baadi clinched the match for the Wildcats, defeating the then No.30 ranked Filip Planinsek, 6-3, 6-3. For the second time during the weekend, the teams played out the match. Stephenson once again was victorious, ultimately winning 6-3, 7-5. The Tide claimed their two singles points on courts two and four, but it wouldn’t be enough, as the Cats would win the match 5-2 and move to 2-0 in conference play. 

Florida enters Friday’s contest having also navigated the opening weekend of SEC action without a loss. The Gators picked up a pair of home wins, defeating both Texas A&M and LSU, dropping just one total point as a team between the matches. UF is led by a pair of top-100 singles players in No. 97 Jeremy Jin, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, and No. 99 Tanapatt Nirundorn. 

First serve against the Gators is slated for 5 p.m. ET. Admission is free to the public and fans who are unable to attend can follow along via live stats or live stream.

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

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