Kentucky cruises past South Carolina
No. 7 Wildcats knock off Gamecocks in SEC home opener
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Seventh-ranked Kentucky used an impressive performance in both singles and doubles Friday to earn a convincing 6-1 victory in its Southeastern Conference home opener against South Carolina at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.
“This is a very good win for us,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “We played really well today and it was probably one of the best matches we have played this season. I was happy with how we came out and set the tone on almost every court, and then we closed out the match. We have struggled at times this year with closing out matches, so I was happy to see us do that. South Carolina is a rapidly improving team and they continue to get better every match they play. We were fortunate that we got them indoors and that we got them so early in the season.”
The match started with UK winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Tom Jomby and Alejandro Gomez started doubles action with a dominating 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles against Kyle Koch and Andrew Adams. Alex Musialek and Anthony Rossi teamed up for the first time this season in doubles to clinch the point, defeating Ivan Machado and Thiago Pinheiro 8-4 at No. 2 doubles. South Carolina did earn a win at No. 1 doubles when Chip Cox and Nick Jones took down Eric Quigley and Panav Jha 8-6. The Wildcats have won four consecutive doubles points and are 10-0 this season when they win doubles.
Kentucky continued to perform well in singles, winning five of the six singles matches to roll to the 6-1 victory. Jomby was the first to finish in singles, defeating Cox on court four. Jomby and Cox held serve to start the first set before Jomby won three consecutive service games to grab the 6-3 win. In the second set, Cox used his serve to keep Jomby in check before the UK star grabbed a key break to go up 6-5 and then held serve to clinch the individual match 6-3, 7-5.
Quigley gave Kentucky a 3-0 lead at No. 1 singles when he took down yet another ranked foe in straight sets. Quigley, who is ranked sixth in the nation in singles, dominated the first set, and grabbed an early break in the second set, before Jones broke back to tie the set 2-2. Quigley would respond by breaking Jones right back and then holding serve the rest of the set for the 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Musialek, who is ranked 16th in the nation in singles, secured the Wildcats’ win with a victory against Adams at No. 2 singles. Musialek grabbed early breaks in both sets to roll to the 6-2, 6-2 win. It was the second time this season that Musialek had clinched the match for Kentucky.
Grant Roberts and Gomez added Kentucky’s fifth and sixth points of the match, respectively. Roberts took down Kyle Koch 6-3, 6-3, while Gomez defeated Pinheiro at No. 5 singles 6-4, 7-5. South Carolina’s lone win came at No. 3 singles when Machado defeated No. 14 Rossi in a three-set match that ended in a 10-point super tiebreaker.