Men’s tennis drops Senior Day match to LSU 4-2


UK sophomore Kevin Lai returns a shot during the UK men’s tennis match against Michigan State in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday, February, 9, 2014. Photo by Jonathan Krueger

John Morgan Francis

The No. 20 UK Men’s tennis team played host to the No. 39 LSU Tigers on Sunday afternoon, falling to the Tigers 4-2. Sunday was the Cats’ Senior Day, as they honored their lone senior Kevin Lai.

With two matches remaining in the season, Lai ranks second on the team in all-time wins (45).

The Taiwan native was a key contributor the moment he stepped foot in Lexington. Lai was named an ITA All-American his freshman year, finishing at 14-6 in singles play. He also joined forces with Tom Jomby and earned the title of one of the best doubles teams in the nation.

Lai continued to impress in his sophomore season, boasting a 27-13 overall record in singles and doubles. He was once again named as an ITA All-American and was named to the Ohio Valley Doubles team of the year in 2014 with Jomby.

A rough patch and a 6-14 singles record came in Lai’s junior year, earning only one win in conference play that year. He instead found success off the courts, as he was named to All-SEC Academic honor roll in 2015.

In his senior year, Lai now holds a 10-2 singles record and is undefeated in SEC play.

Lai was honored in a pre-match ceremony at the Boone Tennis Complex before Sunday’s match, but he did not participate in the match.  

To the doubles point, LSU came out of the gates with two quick wins from its pairings.

First, Justin Butsch and Tam Trinh of LSU defeated William Bushamuka and Trey Yates 6-3. The Tigers’ next duo then secured the doubles point with a win by Andrew Korinek and Gabor Csonka over Ryo Matsumura and Austin Hussey.

Keeping his singles hot streak alive, Hussey was the first to finish with a convincing win over LSU’s Simon Freund 6-3, 6-1.

Taking the lead for UK was No. 52 Matsumura when he defeated No. 95 Butsch 6-2, 6-1.

After losing its lead, LSU took a stand by scoring three straight points to win the match.

On court four, Boria Arias of LSU won over Enzo Wallart 6-1, 6-3. Csonka followed suit with a grinding win over UK’s Nils Ellefsen. To clinch the match, No. 79 Jordan Daigle of LSU defeated No. 25 Bushamuka in extra sets 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Picking up the upset win, LSU moves to 14-9 on the season and 5-6 in SEC play. UK drops to 17-7 overall and 6-4 in SEC competition.

With no more home matches scheduled for this season, UK will travel to Gainesville as they take on No. 14 Florida on Friday.