Liam Draxl wins Lexington Challenger doubles championship


Liam Draxl tracks down a ball during the University of Kentucky vs. Louisiana State men’s tennis meet on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 4-0. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Kentucky’s breakout tennis star has already added another notch in his belt between collegiate seasons.  

Liam Draxl, alongside his partner Stefan Kozlovclaimed victory in the Lexington Challenger men’s doubles championship match on Saturday. 

The pair defeated Reese Stalder and Alex Rybakov in three sets, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 10-7. 

The Lexington Challenger is a professional tennis tournament and is a part of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger Tour.  

Draxl carried an edge over his opponents, as the event was held at his home away from home, the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex, where UK men’s and women’s tennis play all their home matches.  

The Newmarket, Ontario native made his big splash into the collegiate tennis world last season, being named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Player of the Year, the first in Kentucky men’s tennis history.  

The 19-year-old All-American completed his sophomore season with a 25-3 record in singles action, making it all the way to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships singles tournament. 18 of those victories came against other nationally ranked players, including two wins over players who at the time, held the No. 1 ranking. All three of Draxl’s defeats on the season were against players ranked in the top five. 

Draxl was bounced in the first round of the singles bracket at the Lexington Challenger after being drawn against the No. 1 seed Jenson Brooksby, a player who is currently ranked 129 in the world.  

Draxl will have a mighty challenge in front of him if he wants to eclipse his stellar sophomore season in his final two campaigns with the Wildcats, but if this tournament victory is any indication, the Canadian is well on his way to etching his name into more Wildcat history books.