Kentucky Eyes Consecutive Top-10 Matchups in No. 8 Virginia, No. 10 South Carolina

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky men’s tennis team will play a pair of matches this upcoming weekend, starting with its last non-conference match of the regular season on Thursday, March 31 at 5 pm ET at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center against No. 8 Virginia . The Wildcats will then travel to the Carolina Tennis Center to take on the No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday at noon.

Thursday will mark the beginning of four-straight top-10 matches for Kentucky, three of which will be played at home.

Last Time Out

During their most recent matches, the Wildcats hit the road and traveled to No. 41 Vanderbilt and No. 39 Ole Miss, winning both in a 4-3 result. UK improved to 15-4 with its two wins and are now 6-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

While both matches were separated by just one point, Kentucky clinched its match against Vanderbilt, 4-2, and Ole Miss 4-1. No. 9 Gabriel Diallo picked up his milestone 50th career victory in Nashville, Tennessee, against Vanderbilt’s Marcus Ferreira, winning 6-4, 6-4.

The Montreal native also earned his 10th win of the spring season, improving to 24-3 on the year, after taking down Ole Miss’ J. Hallquist Lithen on Sunday in remarkable fashion by a 6-2, 6-1 result. Diallo, a junior, stayed undefeated, standing at a perfect 10-0 after posting two wins this past weekend.

Scouting the Cavaliers

The Virginia Cavaliers make their long-awaited trip to Lexington after their previously scheduled match in January was canceled due to severe winter weather.

UVA jumped up three spots in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings after taking down previous No. 34 NC State, 4-0, and No. 8 Wake Forest in a 4-1 finish. Virginia is 14-5 overall and 8-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference contests.

The Cavaliers have four doubles tandems and four singles players ranked in the ITA rankings as well. Chris Rodesch and Ryan Goetz are eighth in the country with a 10-1 record, while Rodesch and Bar Botzer are No. 51 and Rodesch and William Woodall landed at No. 58. In addition, Rodesch is the team’s highest ranked player in singles with a 5-2 record at the one spot.

Scouting the Gamecocks

South Carolina split its previous two matches last week, dropping a 4-1 result to NC State on Wednesday and then sweeping No. 54 Arkansas, 7-0, on Sunday. As a result, the Gamecocks dropped four spots in the team rankings to No. 10 with a 16-5 overall and 5-2 conference record.

Daniel Rodrigues continues to be the cornerstone of the South Carolina men’s tennis roster in 2022. The No. 3 player in the country is 19-3 this season, including 16-2 at the top spot. The junior also is half of the only tandem ranked in doubles on the team. Along with partner Connor Thompson, the court-one regulars are 14-6 overall and ranked 13th in the country.

Last year, Rodrigues peaked at the top of the singles rankings before falling to Kentucky’s Liam Draxl at home. Draxl picked up his second win over No. 1 opponents by taking down Rodrigues last April.

Kentucky and South Carolina have played previously this season while in Seattle for the ITA National Indoor Championship. On the final day of the event, the Gamecocks got the best of the Wildcats and won the match, 4-1. This did not count toward either school’s conference record.

Up next

The Wildcats will continue their four-match stretch of top-10 opponents next weekend, both of which will be in Lexington. Kentucky will play the last two home matches of the regular season, hosting No. 5 Tennessee on Friday, April 8 at 5 pm and No. 9 Georgia on Sunday, April 10 at noon.

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow @UKMensTennis on Twitter and Facebook, @kentuckymenstennis on Instagram, and on the web at UKAthletics.com.

– GO CATS –
For more information contact:
Ryan Cullinane (rrcu222@uky.edu) – (859) 257-8309

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