March 30, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The 45th-ranked men's tennis team won its second-straight Southeastern Conference match, this time a 4-2 victory over No. 13 Kentucky on Sunday at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. The win, which was the first for the Crimson Tide over the Wildcats since 2009, brings Alabama to 11-11 overall and 4-5 in the SEC, while the loss drops Kentucky to 14-6 on the season and 7-2 in league play.
Alabama jumped in front, 1-0, after winning the doubles point. On court one, the Tide's 38th-ranked duo of Daniil Proskura and Becker O'Shaughnessey got off to a hot start to help the pair to an 8-6 win against No. 31 Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai. The Wildcats would then win 8-4 on court two, leaving the doubles point up to the matchup on court three. Alabama's Hayes Brewer and Andrew Goodwin found themselves down early to Ryuji Hirooka and Nils Ellefsen, but stayed in it and took their first lead of the match at 7-6. The Tide duo would break in the final game to win the match, 8-6, and give Alabama the doubles point.
"Today's match was about pluck and grit," said Alabama head coach George Husack. "It was evident in doubles when we came back from a break down at No. 3 to win the last three games of the match, and that set the tone heading into singles."
Alabama won five first sets in singles, but Kentucky would even the score at 1-1 following a win on court two as 85th-ranked Alejandro Gomez beat No. 105 O'Shaughnessey. Goodwin gave the Tide the lead back shortly after, winning 7-6(7), 6-4 on court six, but the Wildcats would, again, even the match as Lai came back to outlast Brewer, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 on court five. That would be the final point for Kentucky as Nikko Madregallejo and Stuart Kenyon posted back-to-back wins on courts four and three, respectively. No. 28 Proskura led No. 11 Jomby in the third set, however the match would go unfinished.
"The same theme continued as evidenced by the narrow margins of the first sets," added Husack. "Winning five of those first sets, once again, set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Kentucky was not going to back down, and we had to scrap for every point. In the end, it is nice to be rewarded with a win for all of the hard work we put in to the day."
Alabama will play its final road match of the regular season on Friday when it travels to College Station, Texas, to take on No. 12 Texas A&M at 6 p.m. CT.
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