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No. 16 Kentucky men’s tennis upsets defending national champions No. 3 Virginia 4-3

Kentucky+freshman+Jack+Loutit+hits+the+ball+during+the+Kentucky+vs.+Virginia+mens+tennis+match+on+Sunday+Feb.+4%2C+2024%2C+at+the+Hilary+J.+Boone+Tennis+Center+in+Lexington%2C+Kentucky.+Kentucky+won+4-3.+Photo+by+Sydney+Yonker+%7C+Staff
Kentucky freshman Jack Loutit hits the ball during the Kentucky vs. Virginia mens tennis match on Sunday Feb. 4, 2024, at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 4-3. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff

No. 16 Kentucky men’s tennis took down back-to-back defending national champions No. 3 Virginia 4-3 on Sunday, Feb. 4, inside the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Complex.

The match marked the first time the two had met since the Cavaliers ended the Wildcats’ season during the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship in May of 2023.

On Sunday, Kentucky took its revenge while defending its home territory and handed Virginia its third loss of the season.

Two days before the win, Kentucky notched another victory over Louisville 6-1 on Friday, Feb. 2.

Here are the Wildcats that stood out over the weekend and battled hard to defeat the Cardinals and the Cavaliers.

McClelland – Jack Loutit

Freshman Jack Loutit has made waves in his first matches of the year, starting 5-2 in singles, but before his new chapter in Kentucky began, he was an accomplished young athlete. 

Hailing from New Zealand, Loutit was the No. 1 ranked player, a 16U and 18U Nationals winner and a four-time ITF singles champion. 

On track to catch eyes from a big college, Loutit finished in the Round of 32 in singles at the Junior US Open. 

Yet, the transition to college after his high school career wasn’t easy for the international star. 

“Obviously it’s very difficult moving almost a day’s worth of flights across the world,” Loutit said. “I feel like this has really become my second home now here in Lexington.” 

In Friday’s match against the cross-town rival Louisville, he paired up with fifth-year Taha Baadi in doubles. The Wildcats were dependent on the duo to secure the doubles point, and they did just that. 

Kentucky Jack Loutit and Tara Baadi shake hands with Virginia Dylan Dietrich and Edoardo Graziani during the Kentucky vs. Virginia mens tennis match on Sunday Feb. 4, 2024, at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 4-3. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff

Loutit’s hustle led to a tiebreaker win, and gave the Wildcats the 1-0 advantage.

He went on to win his singles match 6-4, 6-2 in straight sets against the Cardinals, improving his record to 5-1 on the year and helping the Wildcats grab their fifth win of the season. 

In his match against No. 3 Virginia this past Sunday, Loutit went down with an injury, but the determined freshman stayed in and continued the match, despite the loss. 

However, if Loutit ever had to take some time out with injury, he believes in the depth of this Kentucky squad. 

“I think there’s not a single person on our team that could not play in the lineup at any spot,” Loutit said. “I think everyone is capable of that and I think that just makes me really excited for the rest of the season.”

Loutit is optimistic for the team more than himself, showing a selfless trait early in his career. 

“Obviously, I have a personal goal of trying to win as many matches as possible for the school, but I think at the end of the day, I just want the team to do well,” Loutit said. “That would make me happy.”

Brydges – Charlelie Cosnet 

Charlelie Cosnet, the undefeated sophomore from Le Mans, France, continued his singles streak this past weekend against the Cardinals and Cavaliers.

Cosnet, a recurrent singles player in his second year for the Wildcats, plays with much grit and is a true hard worker. 

In Friday’s match, the Wildcats put another win on the board with a victory over Louisville. Even though his teammate clinched the win for the Cats, Cosnet continued to play out his match and win 6-1, 6-3. 

In Sunday’s match, the Cats upset the Cavaliers 4-3. After a solid performance in the opening set, Cosnet rallied from behind to win the second set and give the Wildcats another point.

Cosnet’s record now stands at 6-0 as he continues his unbeaten 2024 season. 

“Determination and being able to focus in tough matches can be difficult,” Cosnet said. “It’s always hard because when you win the first set, there’s a moment where you lose your focus a bit. So, I really tried to stay focused when I was down 3-1 in the second set.” 

The sophomore’s streak comes as no surprise, as Cosnet was equally impressive to start last season with a 6-1 record. Prior to coming to University of Kentucky, Cosnet had a career high ATP ranking of No. 1634 in August 2022 and reached No. 81 in ITF junior rankings.

The Wildcats now stand at an overall record of 6-1 and will return to the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex on Friday Feb. 9, to play No. 12 Harvard at 5 p.m. ET.

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