Kentucky mens and womens tennis swing into action


Kentucky senior Liam Draxl hits the ball during the UK vs. Dayton mens tennis match on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Hunter Shelton

The spring season is underway for both the Kentucky mens and womens tennis teams in Lexington.

Through five matches combined, the two teams are a perfect 5-0, with the womens team earning three victories via a doubleheader sweep of East Tennessee State and a win over Miami Ohio, while the men’s team powered past Dayton in a doubleheader.

The womens team kicked off the action on Friday, sweeping ETSU in a doubleheader at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center. Kentucky would win both matches by a score of 4-3.

Behind doubles wins by the teams of Ellie Eades and Carla Girbau, as well as Florenica Urrutia and Fiona Arrese, Kentucky led early in round one against the Buccaneers.

Singles wins by Girbau, Urrutia and Arrese would pace Kentucky towards its first victory of the day. All three points needed just two sets each to get the job done. The two teams would finish the final two singles matches, which saw ETSU turn the final score from 4-1 to 4-3.

Match two against the Buccaneers would come down the wire. After winning the doubles point, ETSU’s Kaylo Bakhodirova would defeat No. 100 Carlota Molina for the second time, putting UK at an early 2-0 deficit.

Urrutia and Arrese would both win their second singles matches of the day, pulling the Cats back all square.

The two teams would trade points, leaving the fate of the second match down to court five, which pitted Eades against Mayya Gorbunova.

After a lengthy third set tiebreaker, Eades outlasted Gorbunova, winning the point 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(9) and completing the sweep for Kentucky.

The womens team would return to the Boone on Sunday to host the Miami Ohio Redhawks.

After winning the doubles point, the Cats quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to the top tandem of Urrutia and Arrese, who both won their third singles matches of the weekend in quick succession.

Eades and Lidia Gonzales would both claim wins on court five and six, pushing UK past the Redhawks 5-2, improving the Wildcats’ record to 3-0 on the young regular season.

The No. 12 mens team would open their 2022 campaign on Saturday, welcoming Dayton to the Boone for a doubleheader.

Kentucky did not drop a point in either match against the Flyers, cruising to a 5-0 and 4-0 victory.

Match one saw the return of Liam Draxl, the reigning Intercollegiate Tennis Association Player of the Year. In doubles, Draxl and Millen Hurrion dropped just a single set in a 6-1 win, while Draxl defeated Dayton’s Connor Bruce 6-1, 6-3 on court one.

No. 122 Yasha Zemel would claim victory first in both matches, needing just two sets in each match. No Flyer would win more than four games in a set all day on Saturday, with five different Wildcats winning a singles match as Kentucky began its season at 2-0.

The womens team will hit the road for its next match, traveling to South Bend, Indiana, for a match against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. For the men, they will stay home to welcome rival Louisville to the Boone. Both matches will take place on Friday, Jan. 21.