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Tennis Cats face defending champs in NCAA quarterfinals

The University of Kentucky men's tennis team has arrived at that stage of the NCAA Tournament where you have to beat the best to be the best.

When the Wildcats take the courts Saturday in Stanford, Calif., for their NCAA quarterfinal match, they'll be looking across the nets at the two-time defending national champions from the University of Southern California.

No. 2 seed USC (24-2) blanked No. 15 Georgia Tech 4-0 in Thursday's round of 16, winning all of its matches in straight sets and extending its winning streak to 17.

The Trojans will be playing in the NCAA quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive season. They knocked out Kentucky in the round of 16 last year in Athens, Ga.

Steve Johnson, a 6-foot-4 junior, leads USC at No. 1 singles. His counterpart for UK is 6-1 junior Eric Quigley from South Oldham High School.

The Wildcats (29-8) are making their fourth appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals, having also reached this level in 2002, 1992 and 1988 for Coach Dennis Emery.

No. 10 Kentucky advanced to Saturday's match by knocking off No. 7 Florida on Thursday, 4-2.

Freshman Tom Jomby rallied after a 6-0 first-set loss to beat the Gators' Spencer Newman 0-6, 6-3, 6-4.

NCAA Tournament

At Stanford, Calif.

Saturday's quarterfinals

3 p.m. — No. 6 Georgia (23-5) vs. No. 3 Tennessee (24-4)

3 p.m. — No. 10 Kentucky (29-8) vs. No. 2 Southern Cal (24-2)

7 p.m. — No. 1 Virginia (32-0) vs. No. 8 Stanford (21-5)

7 p.m. — No. 4 Ohio State (33-2) vs. No. 5 Baylor (22-4)

Monday's semifinals

3 p.m. —Georgia-Tennessee winner vs. Kentucky-Southern California winner

3 p.m. — Virginia-Stanford winner vs. Ohio State-Baylor winner

Tuesday's finals

3 p.m. — Semifinal winners