OXFORD, Miss. – After clinching the doubles point on courts two and three to take the early 1-0 lead in the match, 10th-ranked Kentucky dominated singles play, taking courts two, five and six en route to a 4-1 upset of No. 4 Ole Miss at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.
“[Friday] was a really great performance by everybody,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “This was a great effort coming off of a bad stretch last weekend where we didn’t play our best. I thought we really bounced back well with [Friday’s] effort. I am proud of the team for showing the heart I knew they had against a top-five team in the nation inside a very tough place to play with a tough crowd.”
With the win, Kentucky climbed to 15-4 overall on the year, and stays in the lead of the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division with a 3-1 mark inside league play. Ole Miss was the only remaining undefeated SEC team entering action on Friday, as the Rebels fell to 4-1 in SEC play.
Kentucky came out of the blocks blazing in the doubles point, as the Wildcats went up double break in all three matches to start off. On court three, senior Anthony Rossi and junior Grant Roberts were the first to clinch their match as they took an 8-4 win against the Rebel’s William Kallberg and Zach Wilder.
On the second court, Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka raced out to a 5-1 lead in the early going, before easily closing out the match after a couple of service exchanges 8-3. The win was against the 40th-ranked doubles team in the country, Stefan Lindmark and Johan Backstrom.
On court one, No. 23 Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai powered out to an early 5-2 lead on No. 6 Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen before the Rebels worked their way back into the match. The Rebels tandem held to take the 7-6 lead on Jomby and Lai before the match was abandoned after UK clinched the point.
“The doubles point gave us a lot of momentum heading into singles play,” Kauffmann said. “But I really thought all of the boys were ready for singles play and we performed like championship-caliber team.”
In singles play, Kentucky and Ole Miss each took three of the first six sets, before Kentucky took hold of the match, winning three of the five completed second sets.
No. 32 Tom Jomby made quick work of No. 13 Jonas Lutjen 6-1, 6-4 in just under an hour’s duration. Jomby picked up his 11th win of the season, as he moved to 11-3 overall.
The Rebels responded with their only point of the match as No. 69 William Kallberg outlasted a tough Charles Minc in two extremely tight sets 7-6, 7-5. Minc and Kallberg played back-and-forth tennis the entire match before the Rebel’s Kallberg broke at 6-5 in the second set to capture the win. Minc still has a solid record on the year, as he hoists a 7-5 mark in 2013 dual-match action.
Junior Grant Roberts expanded UK’s lead to 3-1 when he earned one of two three-set matches. Roberts dropped the opening set 6-4 on court five before battling back. Roberts was facing Johan Backstrom of Ole Miss, and Roberts blanked Backstrom 6-0 in the second set to force the decisive set. Roberts and Backstrom each held before Roberts broke at 3-2 to take the 4-2 lead, where he backed up his break to take the match 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
The match was clinched on court six for the Wildcats as freshman Kevin Lai battled back from a one-set deficit to win in three sets. Lai dropped the opening set to Adrian Skogeng of Ole Miss 6-3. After that, he went on to win 12 of the final 18 games of the match en route to a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win.
On court one, No. 31 Anthony Rossi was on his way to a solid result against Ole Miss’ No. 14 Nik Scholtz. Rossi took a break in the closing parts of the set to collect a 7-5 win, as Rossi broke at 6-5 to collect the opening-set win. In the second set, Rossi and Scholtz were on serve at 4-5 before the match was clinched by UK.
On court three, UK’s Alejandro Gomez was in tough battle with No. 99 Stefan Lindmark. Gomez was up 4-1 at one point and battled to protect it, as he took the opening set 6-4. In the second set, Gomez was broken at 4-4, as Lindmark had a chance to serve for the set a 5-4. Gomez battled and hung tough to break back at 5-5 before Lindmark outlasted Gomez in the tiebreaker. Gomez and Lindmark exchanged service holds before the match was called at 1-1 in the third.