Wildcats Win Sec Competition in Comeback Style Versus Uga

AUBURN, Ala. -The N° 5 of Kentucky Men’s Tennis (24-4) won the second title of the SEC tournament of the program and took the lead of the general classification in a classic 4-3 against the N ° 4 Georgia (20-6) Sunday night at Yarbrough Tennis Center.

With the match tied 3-3, all eyes were on Court five, where Kentucky rookie Jaden Weekes played beyond his years and won a tiebreaker in the third set to win the program’s first SEC tournament title since 1992.

“What a win for our program,” said head coach Cedric Kauffmann. “We had to face fierce competition throughout the weekend and we had to push the ball away against Tennessee and today. This is an incredible achievement. This was our third Final with this group after playing in the SEC tournament final and the NCAA tournament final last year. They [The team] wanted it really bad. All the players and the staff contributed to this victory. I am proud of everyone on this team from one to twelve. If I had to say anything else, I would say that Matt Gordon is the best coach in the country. He changed our program. The credit goes to him.”

Joshua Lapadat received the most valuable player of the tournament award after getting a perfect score of 5-0 in the week between singles and doubles. Weekes was also named to the All-Tournament team for his title seal result in the championship game.

Georgia struck first, with both points going to the Bulldogs after first- and third-place wins. Blake Croider and Britton Johnston beat Liam Draxl and Jaden Weekes of Kentucky 6-3 in the third double, before the No. 7 Tandem in the country Ethan Quinn and Trent Bryde broke serve in the last match to win 6-4 in the first double. The second doubles match between the British Joshua Lapadat and JJ Mercer and the UGA team Teodor Giusca and Philip Henning remained unfinished with a serve of 5-6.

Kentucky, as it has several times this season, bounced back in singles despite losing four of the first six sets. Lapadat quickly put a point on the board, beating No. 119 Trent Bryde 6-2, 6-4 for his 20th singles victory of the season and sixth against a ranked opponent.

Georgia jumped out to a 3-1 lead, winning on sixth-and-one and putting the Wildcats against the wall for the second straight day. Ayeni began the quest for the comeback and stormed back after losing the first set to defeat No. 15 Philip Henning 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. The San Diego, Calif. native picked up his team-high ninth win of the season and third This week, keeping the Wildcats alive.

After finishing 3-2, Kentucky needed results in the last two games and was on the verge of defeat as the Bulldogs competed for the championship in four and five places at the same time. However, the Wildcats refused to surrender as Baadi and Weekes downed their opponents 4-5, forcing the game to continue. Baadi quickly scored three points and won the last three matches of the match to ensure the comeback victory over N°101 Blake Croyder 7-5 in the third set.

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