Men's Tennis
Kentucky Prevails to NCAA Super Regionals

Kentucky Prevails to NCAA Super Regionals

by Cadee Pierce

LEXINGTON, Ky – No. 5 Kentucky men’s tennis (26-2) took down Illinois (16-10), 4-3, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday evening at the Boone Tennis Complex, advancing to the round of 16 for the third-straight year.

A 3-3 tie was broken by UK freshman Jack Loutit, who came from behind to clinch the match for the Wildcats in a three-set thriller.

Kentucky had a slow start as Illinois took the doubles point to move in front, 1-0. The Illini’s pair of Mathis Debru and Kenta Miyoshi took down Jaden Weekes and Eli Stephenson on court three, 6-2. Next, the ranked duo of No. 12 Hunter Heck and Karlis Ozolins defeated No. 4 Josh Lapadat and JJ Mercer, 6-2. This was the first time Kentucky has lost the doubles point in twelve matches.

The singles session began with a win on court one by No. 28 Baadi as he put the Wildcats on the board defeating No. 26 Ozolins, 6-3, 6-1.  This puts Baadi’s record at 9-7 over ranked opponents. Weekes took a fall at the third position against the Illini’s No. 95 Miyoshi, 6-1, 6-4. Freshman Stephenson tied it up for Kentucky with a straight set win over Lucas Horve, 6-2, 6-4. Sophomore Charlelie Cosnet could not pull it out at fourth singles, falling to Alex Petrov, 6-3, 6-4. At the second position, Lapadat came back from a 5-2 deficit pushing the first set to a tiebreak and ultimately taking the win in two sets over Heck, 7-6(5), 6-2.

With the fate of the match resting on court five, Loutit battled in a nail biter against the Illini’s Oliver Okonkwo. Loutit fell in the first set, 1-6, but rallied to take the second set, 6-2. Forcing the last match to a third set, Loutit found himself down a break at 2-4, but captured the last four games of the match behind the vocal home crowd to seal the victory.

The result marks the second time this season that UK has defeated Illinois by a 4-3 score. Kentucky took down the Illini by the same margin on the road earlier this season.

The Wildcats will advance to the super regionals next Saturday at the Boone Tennis Complex to take on No. 12 seed Harvard with the official time of the match to be determined.


No. 5 Kentucky vs. Illinois


No. 12 Heck/Ozolins (ILL) def. No. 4 Lapadat/Mercer (UK): 6-2

Baadi/Loutit (UK) vs. Horve/Okonkwo (ILL): 4-4, unfinished

Debru/Miyoshi (ILL) def. Stephenson/Weekes (UK): 6-2


No. 28 Taha Baadi (UK) def. No. 26 Karlis Ozolins (ILL): 6-3, 6-1

No. 80 Joshua Lapadat (UK) def. No. 46 Hunter Heck (ILL): 7-6(5), 6-2

No. 95 Kenta Miyoshi (ILL) def. Jaden Weekes (UK): 6-1, 6-4

Alex Petrov (ILL) def. Charlelie Cosnet (UK): 6-3, 6-4

Jack Loutit (UK) def. Oliver Okonkwo (ILL): 1-6, 6-2, 6-4

Eli Stephenson (UK) def. Lucas Horve (ILL): 6-2, 6-4

Order of Finish:

Doubles— 3, 1

Singles— 1, 3, 6, 4, 2, 5*

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

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