The Kentucky men’s tennis team earned a dominant 4-0 victory over Georgia State on Friday in Winston-Salem, N.C., to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
UK will next face Wake Forest or UNC Wilmington at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Wildcats improved to 15-12 overall while GSU will finish the season at 19-8.
“It was a solid win from top to bottom against a good Georgia State team,” Coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “I felt all our players got in the flow of their game and competed every point. When that happens we’re one of the best teams in the country. It’ll be a tough draw in the second round of the NCAAs but we can’t wait to meet that challenge. We know have the talent to win it.”
A battle for the doubles point came down a tiebreaker on court one. Court three was the first to finish after Trey Yates and Gus Benson fell to Felipe Jaworski and Quentin Couland, 6-3. Shortly after, Will Bushamuka and Nils Ellefsen evened the battle with a 6-4 win over Sebastian Acuna and Jack MacFarlane.
After a back-and-forth battle on court one, the Georgia State duo of Zackery Kennedy and Andrei Andrukhou evened the score at 6-6 to force a tiebreak. The No. 33 ranked squad of Enzo Wallart and Beck Pennington responded, however, earning a 7-6 (7-5) win.
Bushamuka earned the first singles win of the day to give the Cats a 2-0 lead. The Princeton, N.J., won 6-1, 6-0 against Zackary Kennedy.
“Personally I did well and I was focused throughout the match,” Bushamuka said. “I was mentally ready for anything that was going to come. We played as a team today and did really well communicating. We’re going to go out there and fight tomorrow.”
Kentucky went up 3-0 when Pennington earned a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Jannis Koeke. Pennington earned his team-best 17th win of the season.
“Coming off some losses put a damper on things but we’ve had two weeks of really good practice,” Pennington said. “Coach has the guys back together working hard and the early morning workouts are really paying off. It feels good to get a doubles point and get three singles points back-to-back.”
The Cats clinched the victory at 4-0 when Nils Ellefsen tied Beck Pennington with his 17th victory of the season. Ellefsen beat Quentin Coulaud 6-4, 6-2.
“It finally felt good playing well in doubles and getting the doubles point,” Ellefsen said. We rolled that momentum into singles and I think we won five out six first sets which really helped us. It’s nice winning 4-0, especially in the NCAAs.”
No. 32 Kentucky 4, No. 40 Georgia State 0
At Wake Forest Tennis Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C.
1. #17 Will Bushamuka (UK) def. #95 Zackery Kennedy (GSU) 6-1, 6-0
2. #66 Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) vs. Andrei Andrukhou (GSU) 4-6, 2-2, unfinished
3. Beck Pennington (UK) def. Jannis Koeke (GSU) 6-1, 6-4
4. Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Quentin Coulaud (GSU) 6-4, 6-2
5. #106 Trey Yates (UK) vs. Sebastian Acuna (GSU) 6-4, 4-1, unfinished
6. Enzo Wallart (UK) vs. Felipe Jaworski (GSU) 6-3, 3-3, unfinished
1. #33 Enzo Wallart/Beck Pennington (UK) def. Zackery Kennedy/Andrei Andrukhou (GSU) 7-6 (7-5)
2. Will Bushamuka/Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Sebastian Acuna/Jack MacFarlane (GSU) 6-4
3. Felipe Jaworski/Quentin Coulaud (GSU) def. Trey Yates/Gus Benson (UK) 6-3