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No. 5 Kentucky men’s tennis takes down Arkansas and Ole Miss on the road

Cameron Guagenti
Kentucky players celebrate 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. 5 Kentucky men’s tennis went on the road over the weekend to take on two ranked SEC opponents in No. 49 Arkansas on Friday, March 29, and No. 56 Ole Miss on Sunday.

The Wildcats won 4-3 against the Razorbacks in one of the most intense and close matches of the season, while also getting a 4-2 win in Oxford over the Rebels.

With three matches remaining before the SEC tournament, the Wildcats now hold an overall 18-2 record and remain undefeated in conference play, going 9-0 against SEC opponents. 

The team is also 6-1 on the road and stands at a 11-1 record against nationally ranked opponents. 

In their first road matchup, the Cats kept the same doubles lineup as the previous weekend’s matches, potentially locking in the lineup for the remaining season. 

To begin the match, Taha Baadi and Jack Loutit started off with a 6-3 win, winning their third match in a row together. 

No. 23 Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer earned the doubles point, knocking off Arkansas’ No. 29 Bozo Barun and Jared Horwood. 

This was one of the highest ranked doubles pairs Lapadat and Mercer have faced this season. 

To start singles play, only two Wildcats led at the end of the first set, as the Razorbacks had complete control. 

Jaden Weekes was swept 6-0 in the second set, getting Arkansas on the board and tying the match. 

Kentucky senior Joshua Lapadat celebrates during the Kentucky vs Notre Dame mens tennis match on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 4-0. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff (Sydney Yonker)

After losing his first set, Charlelie Cosnet fought back in the second set to take it 6-1. Moments after, No. 36 Baadi earned a point for Kentucky after a 6-3, 6-3 win in straight sets. 

Cosnet took the third set 6-2, earning Kentucky another point.

WIth a 3-1 lead, it seemed likely that the match would soon be over, but the Wildcats had some ground to make up. 

Matt Rankin and Lapadat were both tied in their second sets, following their first set losses. 

Loutit was heading into his third set after a tiebreaking loss in the second set. 

Eventually, both Rankin and Lapadat went down in straight sets, tying the match 3-3 and leaving it up to Loutit, who led 5-2 in the third set. 

Loutit came through to clinch the match, setting up Kentucky’s closest win since 

Feb. 4 against No. 3 Virginia. 

After this intense match in Fayetteville, the Wildcats headed to Mississippi where they paid a visit to No.15 Kentucky baseball on Saturday, March 30, who finished its series against No. 22 Ole Miss that day. 

With the focus back on their match against Ole Miss, the Wildcats started off right in their second road match of the weekend, earning the doubles point after Lapadat and Mercer took down No. 65 Nikola Slavic and Lukas Engelhardt.

The Cats started singles slowly, losing the first sets on three separate courts, and trailing on another. 

Baadi was tied at five in the first set, while Christophe Clement was the only Wildcat likely to win his first set after leading 5-3. 

Loutit, along with Clement, fought to win their first sets when shortly after, Cosnet and Weekes also fought back to win their second sets. 

Despite the positive play, Lapadat fell on court two in straight sets to tie the match up. 

Clement nearly swept his opponent 6-1 in the second set to give the Cats a 2-1 lead.

However, No. 62 Slavic took down Baadi, setting up a good back and forth and tying the match again. 

Loutit won in straight sets that allowed the Wildcats to take back the lead.

Both remaining Cats were in their third sets, where Weekes led 5-4 and Cosnet trailed 5-4. 

Eventually, Weekes clinched the match, winning on court three (4-6, 6-3, 6-4), as Kentucky took the 4-2 victory over the Rebels.

Next up, the Wildcats will travel to Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday, April 5, to take on the Gamecocks at 5 p.m. EST.

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