Without Draxl, Kentucky mens tennis falls 4-1 to South Carolina in Seattle


Gabriel Diallo tracks down a ball during the University of Kentucky vs. Louisiana State University 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

Samantha Money

No. 10 Kentucky men’s tennis met defeat last night against No. 13 South Carolina 4-1 at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Indoor Team Championships in Seattle.

With the absence of two of the team’s top players in Liam Draxl and Yasha Zemel, Kentucky could not overcome the Gamecocks. 

The loss comes after the Wildcats were also defeated in the Elite Eight by No. 2 Baylor, which sent them to play last night’s game in the consolation bracket of the ITA Indoor tournament. 

The night started off with the doubles match. Court one saw Gabriel Diallo and Millen Hurrion take on South Carolina’s Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson. The Cats proved no match for the duo, losing the set 6-1. 

On court three, Kentucky’s Alexandre Leblanc and Francois Musitelli also met a quick defeat against South Carolina, losing their set 6-3. This defeat saw JJ Mercer’s and Joshua Lapadat’s doubles match on court 2 go unfinished.

The doubles loss gave the Gamecocks their first point of the night.

Up next, Hurrion would take on South Carolina’s Rodrigues once again, but lost swiftly in a quick defeat of 6-2 and 6-1.

With Kentucky now down two points, all eyes turned to the other singles matches hoping that someone could get a point on the board.

On court five, Mercer proved resilient and defeated his opponent in two hard-fought sets, 6-4, 6-4. However, Mercer’s point would go on to be the only point put out by the Cats against the Gamecocks.

Kentucky’s Musitelli battled South Carolina’s Thomson on court 3, but came up just short during the first set, losing 6-4. The second set saw a similar score of 6-3, giving South Carolina it’s third point of the night.

The Cats’ last defeat came from Leblanc, who started off his match strong with a first set win of 7-5. Unfortunately for Kentucky, the victory did not last, and his opponent Jake Beasley stopped his advance with two set wins in a row.

This final match presented the Gamecocks the last point they needed to win the game. Diallo’s and Lapadat’s matches were left unfinished.

A tough weekend for the Cats in Seattle, but they have the chance to bounce back against Northwestern this Friday at home at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex at 5 p.m. EST.