LEXINGTON, Ky. - In a highly competitive match much closer than the final score, just a few points separated No. 15 ranked Kentucky coming away with a 4-1 win against Ole Miss here Sunday at the Boone Tennis Complex. The match had to be moved indoors due to weather.
The Rebels gained a split of the weekend matches after a huge 4-1 win at No. 23 Vanderbilt on Friday. They are now 4-7 overall and 2-4 in the SEC with a big homestand coming up beginning Wednesday with No. 5 Southern California. Kentucky improved to 12-4 overall and 5-0 in the SEC.
In doubles, Kentucky came out strong and broke at all three courts within a six-minute stretch to give Kentucky the point.
With only four courts indoors, the top four matches began singles. The Rebels lost the first sets on three of the four matches. There were five tiebreakers played on the day, and the Wildcats took four of them on their way to the victory.
Kentucky's Beck Pennington defeated Stefan Lindmark 6-3, 6-4 at No. 3 singles to make it 2-0 Wildcats. They took control of the match when Johan Backstrom lost to Jerry Lopez. The Rebel senior was up 5-2 in the first set with a set point and couldn't close it out, as Lopez fought back to a tiebreaker and won it 7-4. He won the second set 6-3 to give his team the 3-0 lead.
But the Rebels were not quite done. Nik Scholtz kept the Rebels in it when he rallied to knock off 10th-ranked Tom Jomby, in three sets. After dropping a tough first set tiebreaker 7-6(7), Scholtz won the second set 6-3. He gained an early break in the third and that was all he needed to serve it out 6-4 for his best win of the year.
In a match that lasted over two hours and played three tiebreakers, Kentucky's Alejandro Gomez won two of the three tiebreakers to clinch it against William Kallberg. Kallberg won the first set breaker, 7-5, and had two match points against UK's Alejandro Gomez in the second set. Gomez rallied and won it 8-6 and then took the third set tiebreak 7-4.
"The match was much closer than the final score," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "If Johan closes out the first set then he has a chance to win in straight sets. Willie had two match points where if he gets it, then we are still playing. Nik played great against one of the best players in the nation. We have to regroup fast with a very tough Southern Cal team coming in Wednesday. The guys are playing well and we want to encourage a big crowd to come out and help us take down the Trojans."
The Rebels will welcome No. 5 Southern Cal Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. Fans will enjoy free chicken tenders between doubles and singles.
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