Kentucky edges No. 1 TCU to advance to Final Four

13 hours in the past
Kentucky Athletics

Photo: Kentucky Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The 8-seed Kentucky Wildcats (25-7) males’s tennis crew defeated the top-seeded TCU Horned Frogs (26-7) within the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon by a 4-3 rating on the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Champaign, Illinois.

The win elevates UK into its first semifinal look in program historical past.

The match got here right down to courtroom two, the place No. 21 Gabriel Diallo was in a good third set towards Sixteenth-ranked Juan Carlos Aguilar with the match on the road. The Wildcats discovered themselves in shut matches all yr and knew they might belief one another if push got here to shove. The Kentucky junior prevailed, clinching the match by a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 consequence.

“I just think they love each other. I do,” mentioned head coach Cedric Kauffmann. “I think they’re just brothers. We always say to them, ‘We want you guys to be good teammates to each other,’ but I think they’re brothers. I think that’s what is going to push us through this tournament.”

The match began in doubles, with momentum swinging forwards and backwards between the 2 groups all through the primary 4 video games.

While TCU claimed the primary on all three, Kentucky responded by tying it at one on every courtroom. The Horned Frogs once more took a one-game lead throughout the board and the Wildcats did simply the identical, claiming video games on all three courts to tie every match, 2-2.

On courtroom one, No. 55 Millen Hurrion and Francois Musitelli claimed the subsequent two and took a 4-2 lead after profitable an essential deuce level towards the highest doubles tandem within the nation. Hurrion and Musitelli finally went unfinished, main by a 5-4 rating.

Diallo and Joshua Lapadat break up the subsequent two towards Sander Jong and Lui Maxsted for a 3-3 tie. However, the pair was unable to beat Jong and Maxsted, in the end falling, 6-3.

While tied 2-2 early on, Liam Draxl and Alexandre LeBlanc fell behind and have been unable to win towards TCU’s Juan Aguliar and Pedro Vives, dropping their match in a 6-3 choice.

With the doubles level in hand, the Horned Frogs took an early 1-0 lead into singles competitors, however the Wildcats didn’t enable it to faze them. Kentucky battled early in singles, claiming three first units on courts one, three and 4.

No. 4 Draxl was each the primary Wildcat to win a set and the primary level earned in singles competitors. While the reigning Intercollegiate Tennis Association Player of the Year took on the Twelfth-ranked participant within the nation, Luc Fomba, he prevailed in straight units, claiming the primary level for the blue and white and the primary tie of the night time.

However, the Horned Frogs pulled away inside minutes. JJ Mercer was unable to get his footing towards Tomas Jirousek and in the end misplaced on courtroom six by a 6-1, 6-1 consequence.

Captain No. 83 Hurrion adopted up his clinching win within the Sweet 16 by defeating TCU’s Sander Jong, tying the match at two. His straight-set win gave the fifth yr his seventh victory towards a ranked opponent this season, claiming a 6-3, 6-4 win.

Following Hurrion’s consequence, TCU took its last lead of the afternoon. No. 113 Lapadat’s eight match win streak got here to an finish towards Pedro Vives, who received the match from the fifth place at 7-5, 6-3. The Kentucky sophomore moved to 21-3 in twin matches this season following the loss.

With the Horned Frogs now holding a 3-2 lead, simply courts two and 4 have been left. Musitelli earned one in every of his most essential wins of the season over No. 95 Jake Fearnley, standing victorious after a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 thriller went in his favor. The graduate switch put a robust forehand simply out of his opponents attain to assert his thirteenth win from courtroom 4 on the yr.

Diallo then sealed the deal for Kentucky, placing collectively a formidable third set on the again of his thunderous serve. The junior leaned on his coaching up thus far to clinch the match, overcome the stress of the second and etch himself into Wildcat historical past.

“I had an idea that it was going to come down to me,” mentioned Diallo. “I was just trying to focus on my service game. I was mostly just trying to win every point in my service game, and it made me loose on my returning game. Obviously, I was nervous, but I feel like hearing these guys cheering for me, the nerves kind of go away.”

#8 Kentucky 4, #1 TCU 3

Singles competitors

1. #4 Liam Draxl (UK) def. #12 Luc Fomba (TCU) 6-3, 6-4

2. #21 Gabriel Diallo (UK) def. #16 Juan Carlos Aguilar (TCU) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4

3. #83 Millen Hurrion (UK) def. #72 Sander Jong (TCU) 6-3, 6-4

4. Francois Musitelli (UK) def. #95 Jake Fearnley (TCU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4

5. Pedro Vives (TCU) def. #113 Joshua Lapadat (UK) 7-5, 6-3

6. Tomas Jirousek (TCU) def. JJ Mercer (UK) 6-1, 6-1

Order of end: 1, 6, 3, 5, 4, 2*

Doubles competitors

1. #1 Luc Fomba/Jake Fearnley (TCU) vs. #55 Millen Hurrion/Francois Musitelli (UK) 3-5, unfinished

2. #10 Sander Jong/Lui Maxted (TCU) def. Gabriel Diallo/Joshua Lapadat (UK) 6-3

3. Juan Carlos Aguilar/Pedro Vives (TCU) def. Liam Draxl/Alexandre LeBlanc (UK) 6-3 Order of end: 2, 3*

Up Next

With Kentucky nonetheless dancing, it can now wait to search out out who its opponent will probably be within the NCAA Tournament Semifinals. The Wildcats will play the winner of No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan on Saturday at 12 p.m. ET on the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex.

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