Men's Tennis
No. 4 Kentucky Knocks Off No. 19 South Carolina

No. 4 Kentucky Knocks Off No. 19 South Carolina

by Ben Slack

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Playing in its final road match of the regular season, No. 4 Kentucky (19-2, 10-0 SEC) notched its seventh win over a top-25 opponent this season, defeating No. 19 South Carolina (11-11, 4-6 SEC) by a final score of 4-3 at the Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The Wildcats won the doubles point for the fifth match in a row and earned singles wins from Joshua Lapadat, Jaden Weekes, and Christophe Clement to secure the twelfth consecutive win for the program.

The Wildcats reduced their magic number for the SEC regular season title to one, as they would need to claim victory in just one of the final two regular season matches to earn at least a share of the league title for the third time in school history. Kentucky currently holds a one game advantage over Tennessee in the SEC table.

Kentucky continued its winning ways in the opening session, earning wins on the top two courts of doubles to take a 1-0 lead in the dual. The Gamecocks got out to an early advantage in doubles play, as the first time pairing of Weekes and Charlelie Cosnet fell on court three, 6-2. The Wildcats, needing both of the remaining courts, responded with might, as the newly-minted top-ten pairing of Lapadat and JJ Mercer won their fifth match in a row, 6-4.

With the doubles point coming down to court two, Taha Baadi and Jack Loutit would clinch the opening session, defeating James Story and Carter Morgan, 7-5. The Baadi/Loutit duo has now won four of its last five matches since reuniting on March 22 against Texas A&M.

The Wildcats would race out to a hot start in singles, claiming first sets on five of the six courts. No. 19 Toby Samuel, the lone Gamecock winner of an opening set, evened the match for the only time with a straight-set win over No. 35 Baadi on court one.

Kentucky would then rattle off the next three singles points to clinch the dual. Playing in just the third conference match of his career, sophomore Christophe Clement would remain perfect in SEC play with a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory on court six. Clement is now 2-0 in his career in league matches, with both wins coming in the last six days.

Leading 2-1, a freshly ranked Lapadat, checking in at No. 100 in this week’s ITA rankings, cruised to a straight set victory on court two, defeating Story, 6-2, 6-4. Soon after, Weekes delivered the clinching win on court three, recovering from a second-set hiccup to defeat Sean Daryabeigi, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

The two teams played out the match, allowing the Gamecocks to add two points to the scoreboard. Both Cosnet and Loutit won their opening sets, but neither were able to reach the winner’s circle. The two players dropped matches on court four and court five, respectively, in third-set tiebreakers.

Kentucky will close out the regular season next weekend, returning to the friendly confines of the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center to host two critical SEC matches. The Cats will open the weekend on Friday, April 12, playing No. 38 Georgia at 5 p.m. ET. Then, the top-two teams in the conference will square off on Sunday, April 14, as No. 7 Tennessee will face the fourth-ranked Cats in a match that could determine the SEC Championship. Admission to both matches will be free of charge, with free pizza provided for fans.


No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 19 South Carolina

No. 9 Lapadat/Mercer (UK) def. Story/da Silva (SC) 6-4
Baadi/Loutit (UK) def. Samuel/Morgan (SC) 7-5
Daryabeigi/Sarr (SC) def. Weekes/Cosnet (UK) 6-2

No. 19 Toby Samuel (SC) def. No. 35 Taha Baadi (UK) 6-3, 6-2
No. 100 Joshua Lapadat (UK) def. James Story (SC) 6-2, 6-4
Jaden Weekes (UK) def. Sean Daryabeigi (SC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Jelani Sarr (SC) def. Charlelie Cosnet (UK) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6
Lucas da Silva (SC) def. Jack Loutit (UK) 3-6, 7-6 (9), [10-6]
Christophe Clement (UK) def. Carter Morgan (SC) 7-6, 6-1

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

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

Related Stories

View all