Men's Tennis
Men’s Tennis Set to Compete in SEC Tournament This Weekend

Men’s Tennis Set to Compete in SEC Tournament This Weekend

by Aliyah McDaniel

BATON ROUGE, La- The No.4 Kentucky Men’s Tennis Team is set to begin play at the 2024 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Friday at 7 p.m. ET at the LSU Tennis Complex in Baton Rouge. The top-seeded Wildcats will play the winner of Thursday’s match between Arkansas and Georgia in Friday’s quarterfinal. 

Kentucky enters the postseason after winning its last 14 matches, including a perfect 12-0 record in conference play, to outright claim the regular season SEC title for the third time in program history. 

Entering the tournament, captains Taha Baadi and Josh Lapadat hold a spot in the latest ITA rankings. Fifth year Taha Baadi leads the way at No. 35 and has victories against eight ranked opponents so far this season. Lapadat sits at No. 97 in singles rankings and No. 7 in doubles, alongside redshirt senior JJ Mercer. 

The Wildcats faced the Razorbacks (20-10, 5-7 SEC) on the road earlier this season, where they defeated Arkansas, 4-3. The Mercer/Lapadat combo earned a ranked doubles win in the match, after defeating Bozo Barun and Jared Horwood, who now hold the 30th spot in this week’s ITA poll. Baadi and sophomore Charlelie earned singles points, before freshman Jack Loutit would earn his 15th singles victory of the season to clinch the match for the Cats. Currently, Gerard Planelles Ripoll is the team’s only ranked player in singles, where he sits at No. 104. 

Kentucky faced Georgia (14-12, 5-7 SEC) just this past weekend, where they defeated the Bulldogs, 4-1, in Lexington. Kentucky claimed the doubles point before Baadi, Cosnet and Lapadat tallied singles points to clinch the win for the Cats. UGA has two ranked singles players, including No. 50 Thomas Paulsell and No. 68 Ryan Colby. The pair also hold the 88th spot in the ITA doubles rankings. The Bulldogs’ first-court doubles pair of Freddy Blaydes and Niels Ratiu leads their team in the doubles rankings list at No.28. The Cats faced the Bulldogs in the SEC Tournament Championship last year, with Kentucky claiming the instant classic, 4-3. Jaden Weekes was the clincher of the match after he won a third-set tiebreak to give the Wildcats their first SEC Tournament title since 1992. 

Kentucky has won two SEC Tournament titles in program history. At last year’s tournament, Weekes was named to the All-Tournament Team for his title-sealing result in the match. Lapadat earned the tournaments Most Valuable Player Award after going a perfect 5-0 on the week between doubles and singles. 

The winner of Friday’s contest will advance to Saturday’s semifinals at 4 p.m. Semifinal matches will be broadcast on SECN+, with Sunday’s Championship airing linearly on SEC Network. Other streaming options, live stats, and tournament info can be found on the Championship landing page. Attending fans can purchase tickets here. All-session adult tickets are $15 and all-session youth (12 and under) are $12. Day passes are also available for purchase at $5 for adults and $2 for youth. Gates are set to open one hour prior to the first match of each day. Parking is available at no charge at the Alex Box Stadium in lot 409. 

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

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