uk tennis men 300LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 9 University of Kentucky men's tennis team opened the 2014 season with two wins on Friday afternoon, as the Wildcats blanked both the Dayton Flyers (7-0) and the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (7-0) in the opening matches of the 2014 dual match season inside the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky.

"Today was a good start to the season," UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. "I thought we did a lot of things well and I think the offseason work that the players put in showed in both matches. Having said that, we know that Duke is going to provide us with a great challenge on Sunday and we are going to find out how tough we really are when we play them. But, overall, I liked what I saw today and it was a solid start to what we think will be a great season."

In the early match, Kentucky won every singles and doubles match to cap off a 7-0 win and record the Wildcats' first win of the season, 7-0. Kentucky came out of the gates strong in the doubles point, tallying three wins in a row to complete the doubles point. On court one, Kentucky's All-American tandem from 2013 of Kevin Lai and Tom Jomby won 6-4 after picking up an early break and cruising to a win. Senior Ryuji Hirooka teamed up with freshman Nils Ellefsen from Oslo, Norway, who was playing in his first-career match to collect a 6-2 win on court two. The doubles point was clinched on court three as seniors Alejandro Gomez and Maks Gold got up an early break and won 6-4 on court three.

With the 1-0 lead, Kentucky pounded Dayton in the singles competition, winning all 12 sets played, and not allowing the Flyers to win more than four games in a single set. Sophomore, and nationally ranked (No. 97) Kevin Lai clinched the match for Kentucky with a 6-3, 6-1 win on court three as he outlasted the Flyers' Bernardo Sanson.

Kentucky dominated the final three courts on Friday, taking 36 of the 43 games played on courts four, five and six in the match. Senior Grant Roberts only lost one game en route to a 6-1, 6-0 defeat of Colin Bernier, while Hirooka and Ellefsen only fell victim to losing six games combined in the match. The 6-2, 6-2 win for Ellefsen over Andy Druffel on court six was Ellefsen's first-career NCAA singles win.

It was more of the same for the Wildcats in the second half of Friday's doubleheader. The Wildcats only dropped one set in the match, as Kentucky collected another 7-0 win to move to 2-0 overall on the season, going 2-0 on the day.

The highlight match of the match with EKU was a three-set affair for Jerry Lopez, who was making his NCAA debut in the Blue and White for the Wildcats. In his first-career match, the Guadalajara, Mexico, native fell behind early, dropping the first set, 6-2. Lopez then rallied to win 12 of the last 17 games of the match to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 and move to 1-0 in his career.

The Wildcats will hit the road for their next match on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET, with No. 9 Kentucky facing the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils in Cary, N.C.

Agate

No. 9 Kentucky 7, Dayton 0

Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center - Lexington, Ky.

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

Singles (Order of finish: 4, 1, 3*, 2, 5, 6)
1 - No. 68 Tom Jomby (UK) def. Aidan Koross (UD) 6-4, 6-0
2 - Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Drew Hanley (UD) 6-2, 6-4
3 - No. 97 Kevin Lai (UK) def. Bernardo Sanson (UD) 6-3, 6-1
4 - Ryuji Hirooka (UK) def. Josh Malyon (UD) 6-2, 6-0
5 - Grant Roberts (UK) def. Colin Bernier (UD) 6-1, 6-0
6 - Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Andy Druffel (UD) 6-2, 6-2

Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 3*, 2)
1 - Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) def. Aidan Koross/Bernardo Sanson (UD) 6-4
2 - Ryuji Hirooka/Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Drew Hanley/Josh Malyon (UD) 6-2
3 - Alejandro Gomez/Maks Gold (UK) def. Andy Druffel/Colin Bernier (UD) 6-4
 
No. 9 Kentucky 7, Eastern Kentucky 0

Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center - Lexington, Ky.

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

Singles (Order of finish: 4, 3, 1*, 2, 6, 5)
1 - No. 68 Tom Jomby (UK) def. Juanjo de la Llera (EKU) 6-4, 6-4
2 - Jerry Lopez (UK) def. Alex Alvaro (EKU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
3 - Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Daridge Saidi (EKU) 6-2, 6-2
4 - Ryuji Hirooka (UK) def. Joao Maio (EKU) 6-2, 6-0
5 - Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Florian Graskamp (EKU) 6-2, 6-2
6 - Maks Gold (UK) def. Diego Asis (EKU) 6-0, 6-2

Doubles (Order of finish: 2, 3*, 1)
1 - Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) def. Juanjo de la Llera/Alex Alvaro (EKU) 6-3
2 - Ryuji Hirooka/Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Daridge Saidi/Diego Asis (EKU) 6-1
3 - Jerry Lopez/Maks Gold (UK) def. Joao Maio/Florian Graskamp (EKU) 6-3

For continuing coverage of UK men's tennis, log on to UKathletics.com.

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Posted on 2/2/14
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