Kentucky mens tennis falls 4-3 to Baylor in Elite Eight of ITA Indoor Championships


Yasha Zemel returns a hit during the University of Kentucky vs. Louisiana State 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

Aaron Benjamin

The Kentucky mens tennis team was taken down in its second-round match against the No. 2 seeded Baylor Bears on Saturday night. 

UK fell 4-3 against the Bears in its match that took place at the Seattle Tennis Club. The matchup was one of many that were part of the annual ITA Indoor Championship, which featured 16 of the best mens college tennis teams in the country.   

The match was started with the doubles portion. Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer would square off against Baylor’s combination of Matias Soto and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi. The Bears got off to a hot start, while the Wildcats were not able to recover as they would lose the set by a score of 6-3.  

The second doubles tilt saw Kentucky’s Yasha Zemel and Francois Musitelli taking on BU’s Adrian Boitan and Tadeas Paroulek. Like the last doubles match, Baylor would pull away and not be touched. Kentucky would get within two but fall 6-4 as Baylor clinched the doubles point.  

After a short intermission, singles play began. Musitelli would make quick work of Baylor’s Lah in the first set, defeating him 6-2. He would then go on to one-up himself in the second set, winning by a slightly better score of 6-1, simultaneously giving the Cats their first point of the night and tying up the match.  

The next doubles match would pit Diallo vs. BU’s Matias Soto. Diallo would make it look easy, only allowing his opponent one point in the set. He would look to extend the lead for Kentucky in the next set. He would do exactly that, edging Soto 6-4, putting up 2-1. This was Kentucky’s first lead of the night.  

Next, Millen Hurrion for the Cats would take on Boitan for the Bears. Boitan scratched out a first set win, beating Hurrion 6-4. It would not get better for the Gardner Webb transfer, as he dropped the second set by a score of 6-3. Boitan’s win would tie the match at 2-2.  

Baylor would complement that win with yet another, as Bass would down Mercer by scores of 7-6(5), 6-1. Baylor’s streak would now put them back in the lead for the first time since its doubles point.  

Kentucky would need a point to stay alive and it would need to come from the 6’1 sophomore Lapadat. He would slide past Baylor’s Marko Miladinovic. In the second set, he would follow it up with another win, barely besting Miladinovic. The scores from this match would be 6-2, 7-6(3).  

This would yet again tie the match and leave it down to the final bout between UK’s Zemel and Baylor’s Grassi Mazzuchi.  

The two would trade 6-3 scores in the first two sets, setting the match up for one penultimate set. Mazzuchi scored first, with Zemel trying to catch up at a score of 2-1, but afterward Zemel would not score again as Mazzuchi would win the last four games in the set to clinch the overall match. 

Up next, the Cats will stay in Seattle and compete in the consolation bracket of the ITA Indoor tournament, taking on the No. 11 seeded South Carolina Gamecocks. First serve is expected for 9:30 EST Sunday night at the Seattle Tennis Club.