Men's Tennis
No. 5 Kentucky Set to Compete Against No. 4 TCU in Quarterfinals

No. 5 Kentucky Set to Compete Against No. 4 TCU in Quarterfinals

by Cadee Pierce

STILLWATER, Okla. – For the third consecutive season, Kentucky men’s tennis makes an appearance in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals and is set to do battle with No. 4 TCU on Thursday, May 16 at the Greenwood Tennis Center. Kentucky is one of four schools (UVA, Ohio St., TCU) to make the national quarterfinals the last three seasons.

The No. 5 Wildcats (27-2) will face the No. 4 Horned Frogs (25-4) this Thursday at 2:30 p.m. as both sides hope to continue their fight for the NCAA trophy. This is the fourth matchup for the Wildcats and the Horned Frogs in the NCAA tournament all-time. Fans interested in attending can find tickets and more information here. Live stats and results will be available courtesy of iOnCourt on the Oklahoma State Athletics website. Streaming and commentary will be provided by Cracked Racquets and will broadcast on ESPN+ and the Cracked Racquets YouTube page.

Kentucky is one of eight teams to reach the finals site in Stillwater, joining Ohio State, Texas, Virginia, TCU, Wake Forest, Tennessee and Columbia. All remaining matches in the tournament will be played at the Greenwood Tennis Center with quarterfinals on Thursday, semifinals on Saturday and the championship on Sunday.

Kentucky last met TCU a year ago in the semifinals of the 2023 ITA National Indoor Championships, falling, 4-2. The two sides also faced off in the Quarterfinals of the 2022 NCAA Championships, when the Wildcats upset the No. 1 seeded Horned Frogs, 4-3, on their way to the program’s first ever appearance in the National Championship match.

During their NCAA Tournament run, the Cats have taken out DePaul, Illinois and Harvard to reach the quarterfinal round. UK is on a 20-match win streak, having claimed two titles at this point in the season. The Wildcats went undefeated in Southeastern Conference play to claim the outright regular season title followed by the program’s third SEC tournament championship title.

Kentucky’s veteran duo of senior Josh Lapadat and partner JJ Mercer lead the Wildcats with 16 doubles victories on the year and eight wins against nationally ranked opponents. The duo received the No. 3 overall seed for the NCAA Doubles Tournament to be held later this month.

Kentucky has a dangerous singles lineup with fifth-year senior Taha Baadi leading on the No. 1 court with an overall record of 15-9 this season. Baadi has 10 wins against nationally ranked opponents and sits in the top-30 ITA rankings at No. 28. The freshmen contribute significantly to the Wildcats success as well, notably jack Loutit and Eli Stephenson, playing at the fifth and sixth positions, respectively. Stephenson has only lost one singles match in the rookie season, going 17-1 overall. Loutit is 20-5 overall, with two unforgettable clinches under his belt. Loutit first clinched the outright title for the Cats against Tennessee in a three-set thriller, and secondly, he clinched the NCAA second round to send the Wildcats to the Super Regionals by winning a three-set deciding match over Illinois.

TCU completed the season with an undefeated record at home, going 13-0. The Horned Frogs fought their way to the conference championship before falling to Texas in the Big 12 tournament championship. The Horned Frogs own a three-match win streak since their loss in the conference tournament with wins over UC Irvine, Cornell and Duke so far in the NCAA tournament.

Leading the way for the Horned Frogs in the win column is Jack Pinnington with an overall record of 18-4 this season in singles. Lui Maxted boasts a singles record of 18-4 beside Pinnington playing as a strong force in the No. 3 spot. Jake Fearnley and Pedro Vives check in as the Horned Frogs highest-ranked doubles pair with an ITA ranking of No. 63 nationally.

The winner of Thursday’s match between Kentucky and TCU will advance to Saturday’s semifinal to face the winner of No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Columbia.

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

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