Kentucky women’s tennis open season with doubleheader sweep of ETSU


Carla Girbau hits the ball across the net during the University of Kentucky vs. Tennessee women’s tennis match on Sunday, March 28, 2021, at Hillary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Kentucky women’s tennis jumped back into action with a doubleheader sweep of East Tennessee State on Friday, winning both matches 4-3. 

The Wildcats were pushed to the limit inside the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center, skating by the Buccaneers in close fashion.  

Doubles action in match one came down to the wire, with UK getting out on the front foot first. Fiona Arrese and Florencia Urrutia breezed past ETSU’s Emilia Alfaro and Mayya Gorbunova 6-1. The Bucs tied it up before Ellie Eades and Carla Girbau took down Laylo Bakhodirova and Alejandra Morales 6-3, clinching the doubles point for UK.  

Bakhodirova would get revenge in the opening singles matchup, defeating No. 100 Carlota Molina 6-2, 6-0.  

Kentucky would then take a 21 lead after Urrutia bested Alfaro again, winning 6-2, 6-0. Girbau soon followed with a 6-1, 7-5 two-set win over Morales, putting UK up 3-1. In quick succession, the Cats were one point away from a fast win to begin the season. 

Arrese would get the job done, outlasting Maria Fernanda Carvajal 7-5, 7-6(4) to earn the win for the Cats.Thteamwoulfinisthremaining twmatches. 

ETSwoulnab the final two points in match one, finishing round one between the two squads 4-3 in favor of Kentucky.  

Match two began with the Bucs quickly taking the doubles pointBakhodirova and Morales won the rematch against Eades and Girbau, 6-4, whilethe No. 44 tandem of Carvajal and Yunuen Elizarraras flew by Molina and Maialen Morante 6-1, giving ETSU its first lead of the afternoon.  

Molina was unable to exact revenge on Bakhodirova in their singles rematch, falling 6-0, 6-2, increasing ETSU’s lead to 2-0.  

Urrutia would finish the day perfect, once again besting Alfaro, 7-5, 6-1, bringing UK back within a point. Arrese would tie the match up after another singles win against Carvajal, this time in three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.  

ETSU would put the pressure on the Wildcats, as Morales fought past Girbau on court one, winning 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, putting the Bucs just a point away from an upset in the second half of the doubleheader.  

Gonzalez would get the job done against Elizarraras in three sets, tying the match at 3-3 with a 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-2 victory, leaving the match in the hands of the action on court five. 

In another three-set thriller that saw two tiebreakers, Eades secured the win for Kentucky, defeating Gorbunova 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(9) in dramatic fashion.  

While match No. 2 did not come easy, Kentucky avoided an opening-day loss, beginning the Spring season with an unblemished 2-0 record.  

The weekend of collegiate tennis in Lexington is just getting started, as the women’s team is set to return to action this Sunday, Jan. 16, welcoming Miami Ohio and Bellarmine to the Boone for back-to-back doubleheaders.  

Action will commence at 11 a.m. E.T on Sunday with match one against the Redhawks. Round one against the Knights is set to start at 5 p.m.