Kentucky mens tennis stuns No. 1 Virginia, avenges 2022 National Championship


Travis Fannon

Kentucky Wildcats junior Joshua Lapadat hits the ball during the Kentucky vs. Liberty mens tennis match on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, at the Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 4-0. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

Sara Gibson, Reporter

No. 5 Kentucky mens tennis triumphed over No. 1 Virginia 4-3 to remain undefeated on the season.

The Wildcats entered the thrilling matchup with revenge on their mind and ready for a rematch against the Cavaliers after Kentucky fell to them 4-0 in the 2022 NCAA Championship.

On its first road trip of the spring season, Kentucky found its redemption over the Cavaliers in a tightly contested matchup and broke Virginia’s winning streak.

Starting with doubles, Kentucky won the first point of the day, where the Cats were up a break on all three courts at one point during play.

On court one, Kentucky’s Alafia Ayeni and Taha Baadi took down Ryan Goetz and Bar Botzer 6-3 while Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer defeated Virginia’s Jeffery von der Schulenburg and Alexander Kiefer 6-4 to win the doubles point.

To make things 2-0 and win the first singles point, Kentucky’s Charlelie Cosnet defeated Kiefer 7-6 (5), 6-3 in a hard fought battle.

However, the lead did not last long as the Cats fell on both courts one and two. On court one, the Cavaliers Inaki Montes beat Ayeni 6-4, 7-4. Meanwhile, Schulenburg defeated Lapadat 7-5, 6-4, which tied the match at 2.

Soon enough, Virginia had taken the lead after Douglas Yaffa defeated Mercer 3-6, and 6-2 in the final two sets.

To keep Kentucky in the match, freshman Jordan Weekes stepped up against Virginia’s Mans Dahlberg. After dropping the first set 2-6, Weekes battled back to win the final sets 7-5, 6-1.

It was Baadi who clinched the win for the Wildcats in a third set tiebreaker against Goetz.

Baadi started off the match in a hole 3-6, but bounced back to win the second set 7-5. With the match on the line, Goetz had the opportunity to win it with a deuce point after being up 4-5, but Baadi held and made it 5-5 and went on to win 7-4.

The revengeful win for Kentucky moves the team to 7-0 on the season.

Looking to remain undefeated, the Wildcats will take on Virgina Tech in their second road match of the season on Sun, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. EST at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.