No. 6 Kentucky mens tennis prevails over No.12 Mississippi State 4-3



Kentucky Wildcats fifth year senior Alafia Ayeni waits on the ball during the No. 6 Kentucky vs. No. 33 Ole Miss Tennis Match Friday, March 24, 2023, at Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 4-0. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

Sara Gibson, Reporer

Following Friday’s sweep of Ole Miss, No. 6 Kentucky mens tennis extended its winning streak to seven with a 4-3 win over No. 12 Mississippi State.

To begin doubles play, No. 25 doubles pair Alafia Ayeni and Taha Baadi took down their opponents with ease 6-2.

The remaining two doubles matches would go back and forth, with No. 38 Josh Lapadat and JJ Mercer falling to No. 74 Peter Jovanovic and Ewen Lumsden 7-5.

The doubles point would be decided on the court in a match that came down to a tie breaker, where senior Liam Draxl and freshman Jaden Weekes persevered and came out on top 7-6 (7-5) to give the Cats a 1-0 lead.

“Obviously, it’s always nerve wracking playing in a tie break,” Weekes said after the match. “I was happy to get a good start in the tie, and we got the win.”

Moving into singles play, it would be freshman Charlelie Cosnet to finish first, taking down Patrick Lazo in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 to extend Kentucky’s lead.

Giving the Bulldogs their first point was Gregor Ramskogler, defeating Weekes 6-3, 6-2 on court five.

Making the match even at two, No. 27 Ayeni fell on court two 7-5 (7-6), 6-2 to Lumsden.

Next to finish was highest-ranked Wildcat No. 22 Draxl who won convincingly on court one 6-3, 6-2 with the Bulldogs’ Jovanovic struggling to return serves, giving Kentucky the 3-2 lead.

No. 44 Lapadat had the clincher on court three, winning 6-3 in straight sets.

The final match between Baadi and Michal Novansky would be played out giving Mississippi its final point, with Baadi falling after claiming the early lead 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).

“We’ve done a great job, but we have to stay humble and keep working to reach our end goal,” Weekes said following the win.

With their singles victories today, Draxl and Lapadat both moved to 16-3 to lead the team for the season.

Kentucky is now 19-2 on the season and 7-1 in SEC play. The Wildcats will take on its next conference matchup on Friday, March 31, at the Magill Tennis Complex to take on No. 7 Georgia at 5 p.m. EST.