Rossi’s 2012 debut results in championship

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By Andrew Dunn

UK men’s tennis junior Anthony Rossi clinched SEC Coaches’ Indoor Singles Title at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex Monday.

As with any sport, tennis requires some sort of strategy or game plan heading into a game.  When it comes to UK tennis, there’s one thing that head coach Dennis Emery has tried to instill on his players.

“You can play with emotion without playing emotionally,” Emery said.

Rossi stepped onto Ryan Holder Court at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington on Monday to stand toe-to-toe with the nation’s tenth-ranked player, Sadio Doumbia of Georgia.

Almost from the start, Rossi consistently shouted in excitement as he earned point after point. He managed to keep himself calm in even the most frustrating moments.

As the first set came to a close and the second set began, the Georgia Bulldog’s frustration may have been the difference between a win and a loss.

Rossi, ranked 36th in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, won the match, 6-4, 6-3, thus earning himself the tournament championship. He did so winning three break points throughout the match without allowing a single one to Doumbia. Furthermore, Rossi accumulated six aces, including one that clinched the first set.  He committed fewer unforced errors than Doumbia, which proved to be a big difference. The key error of the match was Doumbia’s long shot that won Rossi the championship.

“I’m really happy,” Rossi said, “I was expecting to play a great tournament, but not to win it.”

Shots were constantly returned crosscourt, and both Doumbia and Rossi showed great endurance in continuing to answer. In the end, it was Rossi’s forehand shot that was the key to his victory.

Rossi’s victory in the Coaches’ Indoor marks the first time a UK singles competitor has won it since 1989 when Adam Malik took the championship.

Elsewhere in the tournament, UK players Eric Quigley and Tom Jomby were defeated in the quarterfinal round, despite a strong showing by both men. The team of Eric Quigley and Panav Jha advanced to the semifinal round of the doubles tournament before dropping their match against Marcel and Chris Thiemann of Ole Miss.

Over the next couple weeks, the seventh-ranked Cats will face Michigan State, IUPUI, Indiana, and Eastern Kentucky.