Men's Tennis
Wildcats Conclude Road Match Stretch with a Top-20 Showdown against No. 19 South Carolina

Wildcats Conclude Road Match Stretch with a Top-20 Showdown against No. 19 South Carolina

by Aliyah McDaniel

LEXINGTON, Ky., – The No. 4 ranked Kentucky men’s tennis team (18-2, 9-0 SEC) will travel to Columbia, South Carolina for their final road match of the regular season, where the Cats will face the No. 19 University of South Carolina Gamecocks (11-10, 4-5 SEC). The top-20 showdown on Friday will commence at 5 p.m. E.T. at the Carolina Tennis Center. 

The Wildcats began their three-match road stretch this past Friday in Fayetteville, Arkansas where they downed the Razorbacks, 4-3. Kentucky claimed the doubles point courtesy of wins on courts one and two from the tandems of then No. 23 JJ Mercer/Josh Lapadat and Taha Baadi/Jack Loutit. 

In singles, No. 36 Baadi and Charlelie Cosnet both claimed victories to put the Cats within one point of winning the match. In addition to an earlier win on court two, the Hogs claimed consecutive singles points to square the match, 3-3. Freshman Loutit earned his 15th singles win of the season after a three-set victory to claim the road match for Kentucky. 

On Sunday, Kentucky downed the then No. 56 Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, Mississippi, 4-2. The Wildcats claimed the doubles point for the fourth straight match. Jaden Weekes and Matt Rankin claimed their first doubles win as a pair before the Mercer/Lapadat combo secured their 10th win as a duo this season to clinch the doubles point for Kentucky. 

The Rebels would claim their only two points of the match at singles one and two, leaving the match’s outcome to the final four courts. Sophomore Christophe Clement was first to add a singles point to the Kentucky column, beating Ole Miss’ Carson Baker 7-6(1), 6-1, and earning his first career SEC victory. 

With the match squared 2-2, Loutit would propel Kentucky forward after earning a win on court five against the Rebels’ Noah Schlagenhauf, 7-6(4), 6-2. With UK searching for just one more point to clinch, the match would come down to either Weekes on court three or Cosnet on court four, each needing a third-set comeback to claim the win for Kentucky. Weekes would finish first, earning a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win to clinch the match for the Wildcats. 

The Gamecocks return home after a pair of their own road matches, where they went 1-1. South Carolina claimed their first win of the weekend at then No. 34 Georgia, 4-3, their first time winning in Athens since 1989. They then traveled north to face then No. 8 Tennessee, with the Volunteers sweeping USC, 4-0. The Gamecocks are led by Senior Toby Samuel who holds a ranking of 27 in singles, and is also ranked #14 in doubles, alongside partner Casey Hoole, who is ranked No. 94 in singles. 

Live stats and a live stream will be provided by South Carolina Athletics in addition to CrossCourt Cast coverage by Cracked Racquets on the SEC Network+

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

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