UK men’s tennis claims victory over Duke


Cesar Bourgois and assistant coach Matthew Gordon run through a drill during warm-ups before the Kentucky vs. Notre Dame men’s tennis match on Saturday, January 19, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Natalie Parks | Staff

Hailey Peters

Failure to beat ranked Notre Dame earlier in the weekend did not slow down the Kentucky men’s tennis team in their match against the Duke Blue Devils on Monday, Jan. 21. An increased sense of camaraderie and accountability between teammates pushed the Cats to the 4-1 final score.

“It’s all individual efforts on the surface,” commented head coach Cedric Kauffmann. “But really, everything we work on is for the benefit of the team as a whole.”

The doubles matches incorrectly foreshadowed failure for the Wildcats in the match after both second and third doubles teams quickly fell to the Blue Devils.

“Their team worked great in doubles,” said freshman Theo McDonald. “It worked in our favor that as singles they were not as strong as us.”

McDonald and his partner Ryo Matsumura were the first to lose in their doubles battles, dropping a quick 6-2 set score. Kevin Huempfner and Kento Yamada followed; after being ahead 3 games in their set, the Devils quickly shot back and ended the set 6-4, giving Duke the first point of the match. Cesar Bourgois and Enzo Wallart’s 5-5 extended set was stalled as the teams then went into their respective singles matches.

“Going into singles, we all wanted to bring it back,” said Wallart, a senior from Windermere, Florida. “After losing on Saturday we were determined to not [lose] again.”

Bourgois, who has notoriously gone to 3-set matches and came very close in tiebreaker sets in the past three matches with the Wildcats, was the first to push out a singles victory against Duke (6-1, 6-3). A nearly perfected serve and quicker movement around the court as opposed to his previous matches propelled him to claiming his team’s first point and tying up the match.

Wildcat senior Matsumura was next to bring home a win, closing out his singles match with a sweeping 2-set score of 6-4, 6-2. With the lead now in Kentucky’s favor, the team was hopeful that they could atone for the loss earlier in the weekend.

“Realizing that we could do it—we could beat them—I think really helped us in the final stretches,” said Kauffmann.

The next singles point was claimed by Kentucky’s Wallart, who went from winning a nail-biting 7-6 tie breaking first set to only allowing 3 points to be scored by his opponent across all games in his 6-0 shutout second set. The match point was clinched by Yamada, who bested his Blue Devil matchup in only only two sets as well (6-2, 6-2).

After the match was clinched by Kentucky, the two teams mutually decided to stall the last two singles matches and call the final score 4-1. This extends Kentucky’s season record to 3-1 overall.

Kentucky men’s tennis will continue their spring schedule in New York City this Saturday and Sunday for ITA Kickoff. Their first opponent has not yet been announced.