Kentucky’s sixth-ranked tandem of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi pulled out a third-set tiebreak victory on Friday afternoon in Athens, Ga., defeating South Carolina’s Hadley Berg and Paige Cline to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA doubles championship for the second straight year.
It will be the program’s seventh Elite Eight appearance in program history. Last season, the twosome became the first doubles pair from Kentucky to advance to the quarterfinals since 2003.
The Wildcats struggled to get going as Hadley and Cline cruised to a 6-2 victory in the first set.
With the pressure turned up, Adachi and Sutjiadi focused in to take a 5-2 lead in the second set. But South Carolina came back to win three consecutive games and force a tiebreak. The Cats ultimately took the set 7-6 (6).
The pairs went point for point in the beginning of the third-set tiebreaker, but with a 5-4 advantage, Kentucky went on to hammer out four straight points and the Gamecocks did not recover.
“We agreed we were going to play one point at a time,” Sutjiadi said. “We were up 5-2 in the second set and then they came back to 5-all. We just stay positive and play the way we want to play because, otherwise, they are going to come out and play more aggressive.”
Adachi and Sutjiadi will face Ohio State’s 18th-ranked Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Buckeyes advanced to the quarterfinals with wins so far against No. 3 Caroline Brinson and Ellen Perez of Georgia and No. 14 Alizee Michaud and Taylor Russo of Auburn.
Kentucky junior Will Bushamuka was eliminated by second-seeded Nuno Borges of Mississippi State in the men’s NCAA singles tournament on Friday in Athens, Ga.
After falling in the first set, 6-4, Bushamuka fired back with a 6-4 win of his own to force a third set. Bushamuka took the first two games of third set before falling to Borges 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Bushamuka and Borges matched up once prior in the regular season, in which Bushamuka won 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).