No. 5 Kentucky mens tennis concludes regular season with 5-2 win over No. 21 Florida


Samuel Colmar

Kentucky Wildcats senior Taha Baadi, left, talks to fifth year Alafia Ayeni during the No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 6 South Carolina mens tennis match on Thursday, March 2, 2023, at the Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. South Carolina won 4-3. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

Sara Gibson, Reporter

No. 5 Kentucky mens tennis traveled to Gainesville, Florida, on Friday where it defeated the Gators 5-2. The win marked the team’s second victory over Florida this season.

Kentucky took the early 1-0 lead, winning the doubles point after losing the first match to Florida’s No.6 ranked doubles pair Will Grant and Axel Nefve.

Senior Liam Draxl and Freshman Jaden Weekes made it even after winning on court three 6-3, with the doubles point being decided on court two.

No. 65 ranked duo Josh Lapadat and JJ Mercer won in a tiebreaker set 7-6 (7-5) over Nate Bonetto and Tanapatt Nirundorn, putting Kentucky’s doubles record at 17-8 for the season.

Weekes was the first Wildcat to finish in singles play with a straight set win over Bonetto 6-3, 6-4.

No.31 Alafia Ayeni took down the Gators’ No. 83 Grant 6-3, 7-5 to give Kentucky its third point.

No. 48 Lapadat suffered a loss to No. 106 Jonah Braswell in straight sets 6-4, 6-0 to give Florida its first point.

With the score at 3-1, Freshman Charlelie Cosnet clinched the win for the Wildcats in three sets after dropping the first 6-4, but winning the final two with scores of 6-4, 6-3.

The remaining matches would be played out with Taha Baadi scoring Kentucky’s last point over Lukas Greif and No. 20 Draxl falling to No. 41 Nefve to make the score 5-2.

The Wildcats finished their season 21-4, 9-3 in conference play and with just one SEC school ranked ahead of them, with Georgia at No.4.

Kentucky will move on to post season play, with the SEC tournament scheduled for April 19-23, and hosted by Auburn.

The Wildcats will look to take it one step further from last year when they fell to Florida in the championship match.