No. 11 Kentucky mens tennis defeats No. 21 Mississippi State 4-2 in ITA Kickoff Weekend


Liam Draxl slides to return 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

Samantha Money

No. 11 Kentucky mens tennis (6-0) defeated No. 21 Mississippi State (3-1) 4-2 in the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Starkville, Mississippi.

The win comes just one day after Kentucky swept Alabama in the first round of the invitational.

Kentucky got off to a shaky start, surrendering the first point to Mississippi State in the doubles competition. 

Francois Musitelli and Yasha Zemel were leading their doubles match, though it was abandoned after Mississippi State picked up the two required victories to gain the point.

Kentucky refused to back down in the singles matches, ultimately winning the event in significant showdowns.

Musitelli secured the first point of the night for the Cats after a dominant 6-0 first set and a 6-3 win in the second set over Mississippi State freshman Bautista Vilicich.

Zemel won the second point for Kentucky, winning in two sets with scores of 6-3 and 6-4 respectively. 

The Bulldogs didn’t go down without a fight, securing their second point with graduate student Florian Broska coming out on top over Kentucky’s Liam Draxl.

With the score tied at 2-2, Joshua Lapadat secured a vital third point for Kentucky, winning 6-3 and 6-4 to retake Kentucky’s lead.

Kentucky received their final point to secure victory from fifth year captain Millen Hurrion, who defeated Nemanja Malesevic in three sets.

The win over Mississippi State keeps the Wildcats undefeated this season and advances them to the ITA Indoor Championship in Seattle on Feb. 18.

In the meantime, Kentucky looks ahead to No. 6 Virginia on Friday, Feb. 4. The Cavaliers will travel to Lexington to duel Kentucky in the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.