Men’s tennis wins Lexington Regional, advances to NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

By Tyler Spanyer | @KernelSpanyer

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After sweeping through Western Michigan on Friday, No. 8 UK men’s tennis (22-11, 6-6 SEC) took to the courts again on Saturday, beating Virginia Tech (16-10, 6-4 ACC) 4-1 at the Hillary J. Boone Tennis Complex.

“I am just happy for the guys,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “They’ve worked hard since September, and they are playing good. So I’m happy.”

The Cats got off to a fast start winning the doubles point in just over 45 minutes of play.

Junior Tom Jomby and freshman Kevin Lai won their doubles match 8-1, scoring seven straight after dropping the second game of the match.

Senior Anthony Rossi and freshman Juan Pablo Murra broke Virginia Tech’s serve three consecutive times to pull ahead before Murra clinched the match on serve.

With the win UK went up 1-0 and never looked back.

In singles, Rossi, Jomby and junior Grant Roberts jumped out to early leads and won their first sets 6-0, 6-1 and 6-0 respectively.

In the second set Jomby took control again breaking his opponents serve twice and winning his second set 6-2 to make the match 2-0.

Almost simultaneously Rossi broke his opponents serve to win his second set 6-2, as well and push the Cats to the brink of victory.

After the flurry of action that brought the Cats close to victory all the fans gathered around court five where Roberts was close to clinching the second consecutive match for UK.

As Roberts was finishing his second set junior Beck Pennington fell in straight sets after injuring what looked like his left ankle during his singles match.

“Hopefully Beck can come back quickly,” Kauffmann said, “He has been playing really good tennis lately.”

After making the score 3-1, Roberts made quick work of his opponent winning 6-0, 6-2, breaking his opponents serve to clinch the match for the Cats.

“I am playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Roberts said. “I have been working at my game really hard and it’s been paying off.”

The Cats now advance to their fourth consecutive Sweet 16, but have yet to advance to past the Elite 8.

“We just need to take it one point at a time,” Rossi said. “I am really hungry for it this year.”