Men's Tennis
Kentucky Men’s Tennis Needs No Luck in Top-15 Victory Over Mississippi State

Kentucky Men’s Tennis Needs No Luck in Top-15 Victory Over Mississippi State

by Aliyah McDaniel

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The No. 6 Kentucky men’s tennis team (14-2, 5-0 SEC) earned its seventh-consecutive win and extended its conference run after defeating No. 15 Mississippi State (11-5, 3-2 SEC) with a final score of 5-2 at the Rula Tennis Pavilion in Starkville, Mississippi. 

In the doubles session, the No.13 duo for the Wildcats of Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer fell to No. 35 ranked duo Petar Jovanovic and Benito Sanchez Martinez, 3-6. Freshman Eli Stephenson and sophomore Jaden Weekes combined to beat the State pairing of Carles Hernandez and Dusan Milanovic 6-4, before MSU gained a victory on court three, earning them the doubles point. 

Undeterred by its third-consecutive doubles point loss, Kentucky won four singles matches, for the fifth time in the seven matches in which it dropped the dual point. The Wildcats clawed their way back into the match, winning four of the six first sets. Weekes was first to a singles point after an ace set-point against MSU’s No. 121 Hernandez to square the match. This marks his second win against a ranked singles opponent this season. 

Shortly thereafter, freshman phenom Stephenson earned his 13th singles win, continuing his undefeated collegiate start. His 6-3, 6-1 win over the Bulldogs’ Radomir Tomic gave the Cats a brief lead in the match, before State’s No. 27 Jovanovic defeated Lapadat at second singles 6-3,6-1 to level the competition. 

Fifth year No. 21 Taha Baadi earned his ninth singles win of the 2024 season after defeating Nemanja Malesevic in 6-4, 6-3 straight sets to put Kentucky within victory’s reach. Searching for one more point, Frenchman Charlelie Cosnet claimed court four to clinch the match, winning 7-5, 6-1 over Milanovic for his 12th singles victory of the season. 

Court five continued competition after both teams elected to play out the matches once UK clinched the 4-2 win. Freshman Jack Loutit took on the Bulldogs’ Sanchez Martinez in a battle that came down to a third set 10-point tie break. After dropping the first set, 5-7, the New Zealander squared the court with his second set comeback 7-6(7-5) before winning the final set 10-7, earning his seventh-consecutive singles win, and 13th victory on the season. 

The win Sunday marks Kentucky’s fifth-straight win over the Bulldogs, and halts their back-to-back ranked win streak. The Cats are now 4-1 both in top-15 matchups and road matches. 

Kentucky will host its next top-15 showdown against the No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies on Friday, March 22 at 5 p.m. before playing No.35 Auburn at home at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex for a 1 p.m. matinee. 


No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Mississippi State


No. 35 Jovanovic/ Sanchez Martinez (MSU) def. No. 13 Lapadat/Mercer (UK) 6-3

Weekes/Stephenson (UK) def. Hernandez/ Milanovic (MSU)

Malesevic/Novansky (MSU) def. Loutit/Rankin (UK) 6-3


No. 21 Taha Baadi (UK) def. Nemanja Malesevic (MSU) 6-4, 6-3

No. 27 Petar Jovanovic (MSU) def. Josh Lapadat (UK) 6-3,6-1

Jaden Weekes (UK) def. No. 121 Carles Hernandez (MSU) 6-3,6-2

Charlelie Cosnet (UK) def. Dusan Milanovic (MSU) 7-5, 6-4

Jack Loutit (UK) def. Sanchez Martinez (MSU) 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 10-7

Eli Stephenson (UK) def. Radomir Tomic (MSU) 6-3, 6-1

Order of Finish:

Doubles— 1,2,3

Singles— 3,6,2,1,4,5

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

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