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Three takeaways from Kentucky women’s tennis’ 2-0 opening weekend

Carter Skaggs
Kentucky Wildcats freshman Zoe Hammond waits for her singles opponent to serve during the Kentucky vs. Alabama womens tennis match on Sunday, April 2, 2023, at Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. Alabama won 4-1. Photo by Carter Skaggs | Staff

Kentucky women’s tennis opened its season up 2-0 after a Sunday doubleheader against Eastern Tennessee State University (ETSU) and Miami (OH).

The Wildcats established dominance quickly in each match by securing the doubles point to give Kentucky the advantage going into singles play.

After hours of action and two victories, three major takeaways stuck out from the Cats’ season opening double header.

GIBSON – Head Coach Shelley Jaudon makes her Kentucky debut

Coach Shelley Jaudon opened her Kentucky coaching career 2-0 with wins over ETSU and Miami (OH).

Jaudon came to Lexington after five successful years with James Madison University where she led the women’s tennis team to a 62-36 overall record and the conference finals their first year in the Sun Belt.

The Wildcats started their season off hot with a 5-2 win over ETSU and a sweeping 7-0 win over Miami (OH).

Coach Jaudon was quick to credit her players for her early success.

“It’s obviously not easy to play a double header on four courts,” she said. “It’s a long day and I think they responded well so that I’m proud of.”

She also acknowledged the impact of the continued support from the men’s team, which was watching and cheering for both matches.

“Obviously the men have been really successful in the past few years and so we do everything we can to learn from them,” she said. “It means a lot to have their support.” 

MCCLELLAND – Mills and Stevens conquer huge deficit, earn doubles point for UK

Makayla Mills and Elizabeth Stevens were down 5-2 on court two to Miami (OH)’s Lauren Joyce and Catherine Denysiewicz-Slowek.

With Ellie Eades and Lidia Gonzalez having already won the first doubles match 6-2, eyes were on the duo to get the win.

With the pressure on, Mills and Stevens channeled some inner spirit, with Eades and the Cats’ fans in attendance cheering them on with chants of, “Let’s go Cats!”

The pair were successful in clinching the doubles points for the Cats’ 7-5, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 start against the RedHawks. 

GIBSON – Hammond steps up big on court three

Sophomore Zoe Hammond played an important role in each of the Wildcats’ wins as she was the first to secure the singles point in both matches.

In the first match she defeated ETSU’s Jana Rovira in three sets 6-3, 2-6 and 6-3 to keep the momentum in the Cats’ favor.

Then, against Miami (OH), Hammond secured her second singles win with straight set victories over Denysiewicz-Slowek 6-4 and 6-0.

“It’s fun to see her game growing and the things she’s working on in practice being translated to matches,” Jaudon said after the matches. “She’s going to have a solid season.”

Hammond also won her doubles match with partner Julia Zhu, with their second bout going unfinished.

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