No. 11 Kentucky mens tennis roll the Tide; sweep Alabama 4-0


Gabriel Diallo 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

No. 11 Kentucky mens tennis (5-0) swept Alabama (2-2) in the first round of the annual ITA Kickoff Weekend.

The event, held at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Center in Starkville, Mississippi is an annual invitational featuring some of the largest names in college athletics.

Saturday’s match kicked off with doubles competition, with the Wildcats beating Alabama 6-2 via the duo of Liam Draxl and fift-year senior captain Millen Hurrion.

Kentucky would once again win 6-2 in the second doubles match, this time behind Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer. 

The third doubles match featuring Francois Musitelli and Yasha Zemel was abandoned with Kentucky leading 5-2, as the previous two wins gave the Cats the best of three victory to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

Hurrion took the second court for Kentucky’s first significant match win, squaring off against Alabama’s German Samofalov. Hurrion dominated the duel, winning the first set 6-0 and the second set 5-1, giving Kentucky a quick 2-0 lead.

Lapadat starred in the next win for Kentucky on court five, facing off with Rudi Christiansen from Alabama.

Like Hurrion before him, Lapadat won the first set 6-0. Despite Christiansen’s best efforts, Lapadat won the second set 6-4 to put Kentucky up 3-0 in the match, and just one point away from an outright victory.

Court three saw the final face-off of the match with Kentucky junior Gabriel Diallo taking on Alabama freshman Enzo Aguiard.

Diallo, like Hurrion and Lapadat, won in two sets, claiming a 6-3 victory in the first set and a 6-4 victory in the second. The win gave Kentucky the four points necessary to pull off the 4-0 sweep.

With the win, Kentucky advances to the championship of their region, next facing off against No. 21 Mississippi State on Sunday, Jan. 30. The time for that match is TBD.