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Kentucky women’s tennis splits SEC matches at home

Aidan Dillard-Hijikata
Lizzy Stevens and Zoe Hammond during their doubles match vs Missouri on Mar. 29, 2024 in Lexington Kentucky at Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center. Kentucky won the match 4-0. Photo by Aidan Dillard-Hijikata | Staff

Kentucky women’s tennis started off the weekend with a win, knocking off Missouri 4-0 and ending it with a 4-3 loss to the Arkansas Razorback, moving the team to 8-10 overall (2-7 SEC).

The Tigers were short players for the match on Friday, March 29 in Lexington, Kentucky, already giving the Cats the third doubles along with the fifth and sixth singles, forcing them to default. 

Kentucky needed just one doubles win to secure the point. Zoe Hammond and Ellie Eades finished quickly with a 6-2 score. 

Starting off strong and with a big lead, Kentucky needed just one singles win. 

It was freshman Julia Zhu who showed up and defeated Sophia McLellan 6-0, 6-0 to claim the match and earn the one single point needed for UK. 

Zhu increased her singles record to 11-3 for the year while playing at her highest place in the lineup. 

On Sunday, the Wildcats fell to Arkansas at home, 4-3. 

The Cats fought to the finish, taking home two singles points and even the doubles point, but it proved insufficient to get the win. 

Doubles action started the day, as Kentucky scored its second doubles point of the weekend to give the Cats a 1-0 lead. 

The Razorback duo Caroli Gomez Alonso and Kelly Keller defeated Zhu and Maialen Morante instantly with a score of 6-2. 

On court two, Eades and Hammond defeated Grace O’Donnell and Lenka Stara 6-3. 

No. 63 Elizabeth Stevens and Makayla Mills defeated No. 36 Morgan Cross and Anet Koskel in a close match, with a score of 7-5. 

Next, the Wildcats put up a strong fight to win all six courts of the match through singles play. 

Eades started aggressively, being the first player to conclude her match after winning 6-1, 6-3. 

Yet, this two-point advantage did not last long as court one finished with Arkansas receiving a point on the scoreboard. No. 31 Alonso beat Stevens 6-4, 6-2. 

Court two concluded with another point for Kentucky as Hammond defeated Keller, 6-4, 7-6(8-6). Court five was the next to finish play, as Ellie Myers lost to Stara in straight sets, 5-7, 0-6. 

Zhu was the next Wildcat to battle through three sets with conviction but ultimately lost to Cross 3-6, 6-2, 0-6. 

Court six was left to decide the day’s outcome after the match was tied at three. Despite Mills’ best efforts, Kacie Harvey prevailed 6-7(5-7), 3-6.

Kentucky will stay at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center to play South Carolina on Friday, April 5, at 5 p.m. EST and Florida on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. EST. 

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