KENTUCKY COMES FROM BEHIND FOR WIN OVER ARKANSAS IN MARATHON MATCH
April 23, 2009
AUBURN - The No. 12 Kentucky men's tennis team won its first-round match in the 2009 Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Tournament Thursday evening, defeating the No. 47 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, 4-2.
The 2009 SEC Men's Tennis Tournament is a four-day tournament hosted by Auburn University at the Auburn University/City of Auburn Yarbrough Tennis Center. One of the toughest tennis leagues in the country, the SEC features seven teams currently ranked in the top-25 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Kentucky got off to a slow start, losing the doubles point to the Razorbacks. The 20th-ranked team of Bruno Agostinelli and Brad Cox picked up a win for the Wildcats with an 8-3 victory over Arkansas' Blake Strode and Chris Nott. Arkansas picked up the win in the next two matches, though, with Taylor King and Matt Walters defeating Kentucky's Alberto Gonzalez and Alex Musialek followed by Matt Hogan and Dmitry Lebedev defeating Graeme Dyce and Eric Quigley earning the point for the Hogs.
In singles play, Arkansas grabbed the first point when Nott defeated Cox 6-2, 6-1. Kentucky then got on the board when Gonzalez defeated Arkansas' King 6-0, 6-3.
Kentucky tied up the match at 2-2 when 119th-ranked Quigley knocked off Hogan of the Razorbacks 6-1, 6-1. Dyce kept the Wildcats rolling when he defeated Tyler Tarnasky of Arkansas 7-6(1), 6-2. The clinching point for the Wildcats was provided by Alex Musialek with a 6-7(5-7), 6-1, 6-3 victory over Arkansas' Dmitry Lebedev.
"It was a tough match, the first set was really close," said UK's Musialek. "I made some errors and missed some easy shots. Dmitry Lebedev was really focused and I wasn't, so he deserved the first set. In the second set, I served better and my forehand was better. In the third set I just fought hard.
"It was a tough match. Arkansas is a really good team. It was a shame to lose the doubles, but we fought and I think we deserved to win the match."
"We knew it was going to be a really tough match coming into the match today, we have great rivalry with Arkansas," said Kentucky head coach Dennis Emery. "They are a well-coached team and play with a lot of emotion and intensity. We knew it was a big match for them and that they would bring their 'A game.'
"I am very pleased with the way our team played today. I thought we played very tentative in the doubles and great in the singles. We went out and won a lot of first sets; that really changed the momentum. Our strength all year has been the three and four position and they again came through for us. We feel that we are really good at the fifth and sixth position. We've gotten better through the year at those two positions, that was a big help for us today."
Arkansas coach Robert Cox was very pleased with his team's effort against the higher-seeded Wildcats.
"I am really pleased with the way our team competed today," said Cox. "They really fought hard, but Kentucky fought a little harder, and came up with the win."
With the win, the No. 6 seeded Kentucky Wildcats will face the No. 6 ranked Tennessee Volunteers, the tournament's No. 3 seed, on Friday.
The match will be at 3 p.m. on the Orange Courts at the Auburn University/City of Auburn Yarbrough Tennis Center.
Kentucky improves to 17-9 and 6-5 in the SEC while Arkansas drops to 10-14 and 2-9 in the SEC.
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