NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt men’s tennis team drops heartbreaker to No. 12 Kentucky, 4-3, at the Currey Tennis Center Friday evening.
“I thought we played a great match … they were a very good team who’s ranked 12th nationally,” said head coach Ian Duvenhage. “Especially in singles, I thought we really competed well and hung in there. We’ve got to do better in doubles … I thought No. 2 doubles today did a good job, but that was about it. We must give better accountability to ourselves in doubles and then we just have to stick with it.”
Fifth-year senior George Harwell and junior Joubert Klopper picked up ranked wins in the Commodores’ loss as they defeated their opponents on Courts 1 and 2, respectively.
“The win that George (Harwell) had today was terrific,” said Duvenhage. “I mean, (Liam) Draxl was ranked No. 1 in college tennis all last year and he beat George (Harwell) badly last season. So, that was a great win. I thought both Joubert (Klopper) and Siim (Troost) did a great job, while Marcus (Ferreira) hung in there.”
The Dores now stand 13-6 on the season and 1-5 in Southeastern Conference play heading into Sunday’s match against SEC West foe Alabama at noon.
“I mean, we’re so close to beating a team like this and we’re getting better,” noted Duvenhage. “We just have to keep our heads up and keep working … if we get over the hump, nobody’s going to want to play us.”
- On the top court, junior Siim Troost and freshman Michael Ross, ranked 80th nationally, battled it out against Kentucky’s Francois Musitelli and Millen Hurrion, but ultimately fell 6-2.
- Teaming up for the second time this season, Harwell and sophomore Jeremie Casabon fell short to JJ Mercer and Joshua Lapadat of Kentucky, 6-4, on Court 2 to give the Wildcats the doubles point.
- Senior Macsen Sisam and Klopper teamed up on Court 3 where they trailed their Kentucky opponents, 3-5, when their match was called.
Tested at Singles
- The Dores evened the team score with Kentucky, 1-1, after Troost defeated Kentucky’s Yasha Zemel with a pair of 6-3 set wins on Court 6.
- The Wildcats took back the lead (2-1) after Kentucky’s Musitelli, who’s ranked 61st nationally, defeated fifth-year senior Max Freeman in a pair of 6-4 set wins on Court 4.
- Ninth-ranked Gabriel Diallo of Kentucky claimed Court 3 after defeating senior Marcus Ferreira in a battle for a pair of 6-4 set wins.
- Klopper gave the Dores momentum with his fourth-ranked win on the season (including second for the dual season) after defeating Kentucky’s Hurrion, who’s ranked 114th nationally, 6-2, 7-5.
- The match clincher came on Court 5 as Casabon fell in a heartbreaker to Kentucky’s Lapadat, who’s ranked 95th nationally. After dropping the first set, 6-2, Casabon stormed back to claim the 6-3 win in set two and forced the decisive third set in which he fell to Lapadat, 6-1.
- Harwell secured the Dores’ third and final point of the match with a three-set thriller on the top court against No. 94 Liam Draxl of Kentucky. The fifth-year senior started off quick, taking the first set, 7-5. Although, Draxl stormed back to force a third and decisive set, where Harwell battled to win the tiebreaker, 7-6 (4).
Vandy is looking for its first conference win at home, continuing SEC play against Alabama at noon Sunday. Fans that arrive early for our Sunday match will receive complimentary food truck items (while offer lasts) from Roscoes Smoked BBQ, starting at 11:30 a.m. Admission for the match is free of charge and parking is available on floors 9-11 of the 25th Avenue Garage (enter from Highland Avenue).