Kentucky Clinches Victory Over Tennessee in Tense SEC Regular Season Finale

Despite a valiant effort, the Vols were unable to secure a share of the SEC regular season championship, dropping 403 to Kentucky. No. 6 Tennessee (21-5, 10-2 SEC) was unable to overcome No. 5 Kentucky (21-2, 12-0) in the regular-season finale. The loss brings an end to a six-match winning streak.

Tennessee began the day by dropping the doubles point to the Wildcats. No. 10 Angel Diaz and Johannus Monday defeated their opponents 7-5. This was the Vols’ sole bright light on the doubles scoresheet, as No. 58 Shunsuke Mitsui and Filip Pieczonka lost 7-5.
Nicolas Kobelt and Younes Lalami faced off against Kentucky’s top freshman Eli Stephenson and partner Jaden Weekes. Kobelt and Lalami unable to break through as the match went to a tiebreaker, losing 7-6. This win secured the Wildcats’ doubles point.

The Vols earned their first singles point of the day when No. 3 Monday defeated No. 38 Taha Baadi 6-3, 6-1. Baadi had an 8-4 record this season versus rated opponents before his defeat.

Diaz kept the momentum rolling soon after, defeating Stephenson 6-1, 6-4 to secure another point for Tennessee. Stephenson suffered his first loss of the season, despite having a 13-0 record in doubles before the match. Charlie Cosnet defeated Kobelt 6-3, 7-6 to give Kentucky their first singles point of the day, tying the match at two.

No. 31 Mitsui scored another point for the Vols by defeating No. 99 Joshua Lapadat in three sets, winning the final two 6-1, 6-3, to restore Tennessee’s 3-2 lead. The Wildcats tied it again when No. 124 Weekes defeated Chris Li in three sets, winning the first and third 6-4, 6-3.

The regular season standings were decided at the end of the day.

Jack Loutit was able to outlast Pieczonka, giving Kentucky the win. Pieczonka lost the final two sets, 6-2, 6-4, dashing Tennessee’s chances of sharing the SEC title. Next, the Vols will travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to compete in the SEC Men’s Tennis Championship, which begins on Friday.

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