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Well that didn’t take long – on the first weekend of the season a pair of Top 15 teams got upset as unranked Kentucky went into Durham and beat #13 Duke 4-3 and #62 Washington rebounded from a Friday loss to UCSB and knocked off #12 Texas by a 4-3 score. As I mentioned when the preseason rankings came out a week ago, the rankings didn’t really take into account the number of starters that some teams lost and thus ranked a few of them way too high. Both Texas and Duke fell into that category because each team had to replace 4 starters and most of the replacements were freshman.

Anyway back to the day’s events starting first in Durham. Duke and Kentucky battled it out in doubles with all 3 matches going back and forth. Kentucky went up an early double break at #1 and led 3-0 but Duke would claw back and end up taking it in a tiebreak. Duke had the break lead at #2 but lost it only to break late and take it 7-5. Duke also had the early break lead at #3 but Kentucky came back to forth a tiebreak which Duke ultimately won.

4 of the 6 singles matches finished in straight sets as Kentucky’s William Bushamuka, Ryotaro Matsumura, and Nils Ellefsen swept the top 3 spots while Duke’s Adrian Chamdani won at #6. Kentucky had a 3-2 lead and just needed 1 of the final 2 courts but it wasn’t look good for them on either. Duke’s Catalin Mateas led Kentucky’s Trey Yates 4-1 in the 3rd at #4 and Duke’s Josh Levine was serving for the match at #5 leading Kentucky’s Enzo Wallart 5-3 in the 3rd. Wallart wouldn’t go away and would break back and push the match to a tiebreak. Levine took the first point in the tiebreak but Wallart took the next 7 to clinch the win for Kentucky. Duke’s Mateas would close out Yates after Kentucky had already officially won it to make the final score 4-3. For a full blow-by-blow read Duke’s extremely detailed recap.

Note: Kentucky won despite playing without Beck Pennington who started 22 matches last season at #1 singles (11-9)


Kentucky 4, #13 Duke 3

Jan 17, 2016 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #79 William Bushamuka (UK 13.95) def. #12 Nicolas Alvarez (DU 14.21) 6-2, 7-6 (5)
2. Ryotaro Matsumura (UK 14.53/20%) def. #102 TJ Pura (DU 13.43) 6-1, 6-4
3. #117 Nils Ellefsen (UK 13.06) def. Vincent Lin (DU 13.46) 6-2, 6-2
4. Catalin Mateas (DU 13.62) def. Trey Yates (UK 13.19) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
5. Enzo Wallart (UK 13.02) def. Josh Levine (DU 12.74) 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1)
6. Adrian Chamdani (DU 12.92) def. Austin Hussey (UK 12.92) 6-4, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. Nicolas Alvarez/Vincent Lin (DU) def. Nils Ellefsen/Kevin Lai (UK) 7-6 (7-5)
2. Josh Levine/Ryan Dickerson (DU) def. Ryotaro Matsumura/Enzo Wallart (UK) 7-5
3. Catalin Mateas/TJ Pura (DU) def. William Bushamuka/Charles Minc (UK) 7-6 (7)
Match Notes:
Kentucky 3-0
Duke 1-1; National ranking #13
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,6,2,1,5,4)
T-3:08 A-278

A slew of post-match quotes from Kentucky’s recap
“A very good win for us in the beginning stage of the year, said head coach Cedric Kauffman. “Beating this team on the road with three freshmen and two sophomores in the lineup after losing the doubles shows that we have come a long way from last year. The upperclassman are improving and this freshman class is the best in the country. We left a lot on the table in the doubles. We didn’t close out some opportunities that we had. We will go over it this week. It was great to get Charles [Minc] back on the court. I can’t wait for him to be at 100-percent and playing well.

“What a great team effort today by the guys, assistant coach Matt Emery said. “I thought we left a point on the board in the doubles. But what a great job our guys did of bouncing back and winning or being in a position to win at every spot in singles.”

“A great win for us on the road and an amazing feeling to upset such a talented team, Ellefsen said following the match. “We should have closed out the doubles point as well, but we fought back in singles to win the match. So proud of the guys for today’s effort.

“I though that as a team everyone gave it their all, especially the freshman in their first win against a ranked team, Bushamukasaid. “Enzo [Wallart] I thought was the man of the match, clinching for us in the third. Even though we just beat a top-15 team, we need to get back to work on Tuesday. I’m very proud of the team though.

“I’m very happy that we beat a top-15 team in Duke today, Matsumura said. “I knew we could do it. I think I did well in my first match against a ranked player. I have some goals for my next match, wanting to improve on my serve and overhead. Too many errors, but I am looking forward to beating Michigan next.

“I was really proud of William today, Emery continued. “This is a benchmark win for him, and we know it’s only the beginning for him.  He was the tougher player on Court #1 today. I also can’t say enough about the two freshman, Ryotaro and Enzo, today. They showed tremendous guts and poise for freshmen playing in their first big match on the road. They are two of the best freshmen in the country, and they proved that today.”

“I’m very proud of the team today, Wallart said following the win. “After losing all three doubles very closely, we went back out there and gave everything we had. It was an incredible feeling winning 7-6 in the third and bringing the fourth point to the team for the win, especially in my second college match. We’re ready for the season.

Post-match comments from Duke’s recap:
We did some good things and fought hard, head coach Ramsey Smith said. “We had a couple courts where I thought we did a lot of really, really good things. We’re a couple points away from winning that match and feeling great. Overall, we made some progress this week. We certainly have some work to do. The doubles point was obviously extremely intense, Smith said. “There were a lot of pressure situations on all three courts and we were able to come through. That was a big positive. Kentucky bounced back extremely well.

“Adrian was very impressive today, Smith said. “He didn’t play the first match and wasn’t in the lineup to begin with. He got in and played a guy who made a lot of balls. Adrian stepped up. I was encouraged with him.

“I thought Catalin looked very comfortable out there, Smith added. “I wish it had come down to him. Josh has won so many big matches for us and lost a tough one today. I have full confidence that Josh is going to win that match the majority of the time. From a freshman standpoint, I thought it was a great weekend.

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It was a crazy weekend of tennis in Seattle – on Friday night #54 UCSB knocked off #62 Washington 4-3, then on Saturday #12 Texas beat #54 UCSB 6-1, and then finally today #62 Washington knocks off #12 Texas 4-3 – go figure. 

Texas didn’t have any issues in doubles and claimed the point with wins at #1 and #2 but Washington turned things around in singles. Washington’s Mitch Stewart, Gal Hakak, Enzo Sommer, and Sebastian Hawken each took first sets and it didn’t take long for Stewart, Hakak, and Hawken to finish their matches off in straight sets. Washington was now up 3-1 but Texas trimmed it to 3-2 with a straight set win from Julain Zlobinsky at #6 but a short while later freshman Enzo Sommer closed the door on Texas by defeating #114 Michael Riechmann 7-5, 6-4. Texas’s Adrian Ortiz beat Washington’s Jake Douglas in the remaining match to make the final 4-3.


#62 Washington 4, #12 Texas 3
Jan 17, 2016 at Seattle, WA. (Nordstrom Tennis Center)
Doubles competition 
1 Adrian Ortiz/Michael Riechmann (UT) def. Piers Foley/Enzo Sommer (UW), 6-4
2 George Goldhoff/Julian Zlobinsky (UT) def. Jake Douglas/Wendell Watanabe (UW), 6-2
3 Colin Markes/Harrison Scott (UT) vs. Kawika Lam/Mitch Stewart (UW), 5-4, susp.
Singles competition 
1 #84 Mitch Stewart (UW 13.89) def. George Goldhoff (UT 13.65), 6-3, 6-2
2 #122 Gal Hakak (UW 13.34) def. #94 Harrison Scott (UT 13.44), 6-3, 6-3
3 Adrian Ortiz (UT 13.61) def. #121 Jake Douglas (UW 13.26), 7-6, 7-5
4 Enzo Sommer (UW 13.49) def. #114 Michael Riechmann (UT 12.95), 7-5, 6-4
5 Sebastian Hawken (UW 12.56) def. John Mee (UT 13.40), 6-3, 6-2
6 Julian Zlobinsky (UT 12.76) def. Piers Foley (UW 12.37), 7-5, 6-4
Match Notes
Washington 3-1
Texas 3-1; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (1,5,2,6,4,3)

Comments from Washington recap

“Today was great, it was a very close match like we had Friday night, said head coach Matt Anger. “I was really surprised all matches were straight sets, usually in a close match like that matches are going to go to three sets but it just seemed to work out that way today. Within all of those matches however it was still really close.  We were able to play a lot of freshmen today, and even two sophomores, said Anger. “So it was just a great win for the team, and also a lot of fun for those guys to get that great experience.


Comments from Texas recap
“I give credit to Washington,” said UT head coach Michael Center. “They played very well. We were not quite as sharp in some areas today, and we were exploited. Once again, I was pleased with our doubles. The guys played hard, but we still have a lot of room for improvement.”

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Northwestern won its season opener on the road by blanking #36 Louisville 4-0. The only real suspense came during the doubles point which was decided in a tiebreak at #2. Northwestern won 9 of the 10 completed sets and was ahead in the other 3 when play was halted due to the clinch. Northwestern had to get back home to play Chicago State at 7pm central so that’s why they cut bait and took off.

Louisville head coach Rex Ecarma had some nice things to say about the Northwestern team – read below.

#26 Northwestern 4, #36 Louisville 0

Jan 17, 2016 at Louisville, Ky. (Bass-Rudd Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #16 Konrad Zieba (NW 14.22) vs. #108 Alex Gornet (LOU 13.11) 6-1, 5-3, unf
2. #50 Sam Shropshire (NW 13.71) def. Jeffrey Brown (LOU 13.02) 6-0, 6-3
3. #55 Strong Kirchheimer (NW 13.93) def. Sean Donohue (LOU 12.42) 6-1, 6-2
4. Fedor Baev (NW 13.00) vs. Brandon Lancaster (LOU 13.08) 2-6, 6-1, 4-1, unf
5. Alp Horoz (NW 13.04) vs. Courtney Lock (LOU 11.97) 6-3, 4-3, unf
6. Ben Vandixhorn (NW 12.87) def. Christian Haushammer (LOU 12.22) 7-6 (2), 6-2
Doubles competition
1. #52 Fedor Baev/Strong Kirchheimer (NW) def. #57 Alex Gornet/Jeffrey Brown (LOU) 6-3
2. Sam Shropshire/Konrad Zieba (NW) def. Haushammer/Lancaster (LOU) 7-6 (3)
3. Courtney Lock/George Hedley (LOU) def. Alp Horoz/Mihir Kumar (NW) 6-4
Match Notes:
Northwestern 1-0; National ranking #26
Louisville Men’s Tennis 2-1; National ranking #36
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,3,6)
T-2:12 A-102
Comments from Louisville’s recap