Kentucky men’s tennis continues historic NCAA Tournament run


Millen Hurrion’s teammates run as much as him in birthday party after Hurrion gained his singles fit right through the Kentucky vs. Wake Forrest NCAA Tournament Super Regional fit on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Hilary Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo through Michael Clubb | Staff

The Kentucky males’s tennis staff’s very best postseason run within the greater than a decade used to be handiest behind schedule, now not deterred through Saturday’s lightning and rain in Lexington.

Now, the Wildcats are into the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for the 5th time in class historical past.

UK, 24-7 general this season, scored a 4-2 win over Wake Forest on Saturday on the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex to succeed in the Elite Eight, which is able to start Thursday on the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Champaign, Illinois.

Saturday’s victory over Wake Forest started outdoor and completed inside of.

A 2 p.m. get started in entrance of a full of life house crowd used to be met with scorching, sunny climate, however storms crept in as a number of singles fits stretched into 3rd units.

Around 4:45 p.m., a press release that lightning used to be detected inside of 8 miles of the tennis complicated despatched the fit right into a prolong, with each groups backing out to their indoor locker rooms and spectators suggested to hunt safe haven of their vehicles.

During this lightning prolong, rain moved thru Lexington and left the out of doors courts in rainy, unplayable situation.

So the 3 fits nonetheless in development resumed at the tennis complicated’s indoor courts after greater than an hour prolong.

Kentucky, which is able to end the season with a 12-2 document at house, misplaced the doubles level to Wake Forest, however then picked up 4 singles wins from Liam Draxl, J.J. Mercer, Gabriel Diallo and Millen Hurrion to defeat the Demon Deacons.

Draxl, a 6-3, 6-1 winner, and Mercer, who prevailed 7-6 (3), 6-1, each completed sooner than the elements prolong.

Diallo —6-2, 3-6, 6-1 — and Hurrion — 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 — gained their fits inside of after the prolong.

It used to be Hurrion’s win that despatched the local of Weymouth, England, sprawling on his again in birthday party after he clinched the fit for Kentucky.

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Kentucky celebrates advancing within the event after profitable the Kentucky vs. Wake Forrest NCAA Tournament Super Regional fit on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Hilary Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo through Michael Clubb | Staff Michael Clubb

UK is the No. 8 general seed within the NCAA Tournament, which allowed the Cats to host Saturday’s Sweet 16 fit in opposition to Wake Forest, which used to be the event’s No. 9 general seed and finishes the season with a 33-7 document.

Kentucky will play No. 1 general seed TCU in Thursday’s quarterfinal.

All 3 of Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament wins up to now this season have are available Lexington, as UK gained 4-0 within the opening spherical in opposition to DePaul and 4-2 in the second one spherical in opposition to Northwestern closing weekend.

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Kentucky’s Gabriel Diallo returns the ball right through the staff’s fit in opposition to Wake Forest. Michael Clubb

By achieving the Sweet 16, UK had recorded its very best postseason run since 2014.

Now through achieving the Elite Eight, Kentucky has certified for its 5th nationwide quarterfinals and its first since 2011.

UK head trainer Cedric Kauffmann — a local of France who used to be a three-time All-SEC performer as a participant at Kentucky — has led the Cats to 8 NCAA Tournament appearances, 3 Sweet 16 journeys and one Elite Eight berth in his 10 seasons as head trainer.

Kauffmann first joined the United Kingdom training group of workers as an assistant in 2005.

The Cats additionally reached the finals of the SEC Tournament this season sooner than dropping to Florida (the No. 2 general seed within the NCAA Tournament and some other nationwide quarterfinalist).

Kentucky owns a 32-30 document all-time within the NCAA Tournament.

UK entered the NCAA Tournament because the No. 9-ranked staff within the Intercollegiate Tennis Association staff ratings and because the No. 7-ranked staff within the United States Tennis Association ratings.

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Kentucky head trainer Cedric Kauffmann walks the courts right through his staff’s NCAA Tournament fit in opposition to Wake Forest. Michael Clubb

Singles event

Regardless of the way UK plays within the Elite Eight, the Cats can be sending each Diallo and Draxl to the NCAA Men’s Tennis Singles Tournament.

Diallo and Draxl have been each at-large choices to that event, which can be held May 23-28, additionally on the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Champaign, Illinois.

Both Diallo and Draxl performed within the singles event closing 12 months, with Diallo achieving the Sweet 16 whilst Draxl, then the No. 1 seed, changed into the primary UK participant to succeed in the Final Four since 2012.

Both gamers have been first-team All-SEC choices this season.

Draxl is the No. 4 general seed for this 12 months’s singles event.

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Kentucky’s Liam Draxl celebrates profitable some degree in his doubles fit in opposition to Wake Forest on Saturday. Michael Clubb

This tale used to be at first printed May 14, 2022 6:44 PM.

Cameron Drummond works as a sports activities reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader with a focal point at the University of Kentucky ladies’s basketball program, along with different faculty, highschool {and professional} sports activities within the space. Drummond is a first-generation American who used to be born and raised in Texas, sooner than graduating from Indiana University in 2020. He is a fluent Spanish speaker who up to now labored as a neighborhood information reporter for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper in Austin, Texas.

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