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Kentucky men’s tennis improves to 5-0 in SEC, takes down LSU and Mississippi state

Cameron Guagenti
Kentucky players serve the ball during the No. 7 Kentucky vs. No. 18 Alabama men’s tennis match on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at the Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 5-2. Photo by Cameron Guagenti | Staff

No. 6 Kentucky men’s tennis continued its undefeated conference play with a 4-2 road win over No. 28 LSU on Friday, March 15.

On Sunday, March 17, Kentucky traveled to Starkville, Mississippi, where it took down No. 15 Mississippi State 5-2. 

The Wildcats are now 5-0 against their SEC opponents. 

In their first road match over the weekend, the Cats got off to a slow start. Jack Loutit and Matt Rankin lost 6-3, giving up the doubles point and giving LSU the early 1-0 lead. 

Kentucky started singles play slow as well, where No. 21 Taha Baadi and Charlelie Cosnet were nearly swept in their first sets. 

However, Eli Stephenson and Joshua Lapadat both won their first sets, setting up the Wildcats to make a comeback. 

Jaden Weekes forced a tiebreaker in the first set which was shortly followed by a second set sweep for Cosnet. The Wildcats were fired up, shouting and celebrating in enemy territory. 

Lapadat ended his losing streak, scoring first for the Wildcats after a 6-1, 6-3 win in straight sets. 

Baadi fell on court one in the third set, but teammate Jack Loutit instantly tied it for Kentucky. 

With the score 2-2, star freshman Stephenson faced a tiebreaker with Weekes still in play. 

Stephenson scored for Kentucky after winning the tiebreaker and the Cats jumped in excitement. Weekes shortly followed, ending the match and giving them their fourth conference win. 

Despite some early jitters against LSU, Kentucky had to continue its road stretch and push the boundaries against another top SEC opponent. 

In their second road match, the Wildcats also lost the doubles point after Mississippi State took down Loutit and Rankin. 

This duo, who started strong together with a 3-0 record, has now lost their third doubles match in a row. 

Weekes continued to play well in singles, giving Kentucky its first point of the day. 

Stephenson, still undefeated in singles play, earned Kentucky another point, improving to 13-0 on the season. 

The Wildcats had a strong 2-1 lead, with Baadi and Cosnet both winning their first sets and leading 3-2 in their second sets.

Baadi defeated Nemanja Malesevic in straight sets to set up Kentucky with a big lead in unfamiliar territory. 

Just moments later, Lapadat fell on court two, making the match a little more competitive and interesting. 

Despite the late hope for Mississippi State, Cosnet closed it out after a 7-5, 6-4 win over his opponent. 

Loutit continued play after the Cosnet clinch, where he went on to win his singles match and make the final score 5-2.  

The Wildcats, now 14-2 on the season, will return to the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex on Friday, March 22, to host No. 13 Texas A&M.

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