SEATTLE – Second year Joshua Lapadat propelled Kentucky to seven seeds (9-1) against a 4-0 sweep of 10-seeded Southern California (6-2) in the Intercollegiate Indoor Team Championships Friday night at the Seattle Tennis Club.
With the win, the UK advance to the Elite Eight, next playing Saturday night at 9.30pm ET against two-seeded winner Baylor and 15-seeded Ole Miss.
Lapadat, 37and-ranked singles player in the country, earned a hard-fought straight-sets win on court five over Trojans No. 59 Lodewijk Weststrate. The London, Ont., native fell 5-3 in the second set and won 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) to claim his first ranking victory of the year. With the win, he avenged both his singles loss last season to second-placed USC and the teams’ 4-3 loss at Champaign, Illinois.
“We started really well, and the momentum and energy was really good from us today. I think that’s what helped us through,” Lapadat said.
Lapadat and doubles partner JJ Mercer set the tone for the Wildcats early today, quickly winning their game together 6-1 over Peter Makk and Wojtek Marek, moving to 6-2 on the season. The British pair moved up 15 places to rank 22nd in the ITA coaches’ poll last week.
After suffering their first loss together Sunday at Duke, Francois Musitelli and Yasha Zemel bounced back in a big way, knocking out Paul Barretto and Ryan Colby to clinch the doubles point. The pair improve to 4-1 together and 3-0 from third place. Kentucky has now picked up the point in doubles competition in eight of its 10 games.
Fifth Gabriel Diallo channeled that doubles energy into his own game, minding business to earn his fourth victory this spring. Diallo beat Frye in a 6-3, 6-2 affair.
After Lapadat’s win that pushed Kentucky 3-0, the sweep was in sight, but the remaining games were nothing short of battles. Yasha Zemelhowever, managed to pull away against Colby in the third set to earn the deciding fourth point of his Wildcat career and overtake USC.
If the Wildcats won on Saturday, they would face winner 11-seeded South Carolina and three-seeded Tennessee. The potential Southeastern Conference Final Four game would take place at 6:30 p.m. for a championship berth at the Nordstrom Tennis Center, home to the University of Washington.
The win marked the first time Kentucky has made the Elite Eight of the Indoor Championship since 2013, when it also did so in a sweeping fashion.
UK also picked up their second win against ranked teams this season against No. 11 USC, previously beating No. 21 Mississippi State to clinch their ticket to Seattle on the launch weekend of the ITA.
ITA National Team Indoor Championship, Round of 16 (Seattle, Washington)
Kentucky 4, Southern California 0
1. #4 Stefan Dostanic (USC) vs. Liam Draxl (UK) 7-5, 4-6, 3-2, unfinished
2. Wojtek Marek (USC) vs. Millen Hurrion (UK) 7-6 (7-4), 5-5, unfinished
3. #5 Gabriel Diallo (UK) def. Bradley Frye (USC) 6-3, 6-2
4. Francois Musitelli (UK) v #46 Peter Makk (USC) 7-5, 6-6 (1-3), unfinished
5. #37 Joshua Lapadat (UK) def. #59 Lodewijk Weststrate (USC) 6-3, 7-6(7-3)
6. Yasha Zemel (UK) def. Ryan Colby (USC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Order of arrival: 3, 5, 6*
1. #3 Stefan Dostanic/Bradley Frye (USC) vs. Liam Draxl/Millen Hurrion (UK) 5-6, unfinished
2. #22 Joshua Lapadat/JJ Mercer (UK) def. Peter Makk/Wojtek Marek (USC), 6-1
3. Francois Musitelli/Yasha Zemel (UK) def. Paul Barretto/Ryan Colby (USC), 6-3
Order of arrival: 2, 3*
For the latest news 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 ([email protected]) – (859) 257-8309