Kentucky Recap
W, 6-1

Men's Tennis Claws by No. 12 Kentucky in Home Finale, 6-1 4/11/03

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Virtue of its 6-1 triumph over No. 12 Kentucky on Friday, the eighth-ranked Vanderbilt men's tennis team will receive one of the four byes for next weekend's Southeastern Conference Tournament in Oxford, Miss. If the Commodores defeat the 13th-ranked Gamecocks of South Carolina on Sunday, they will earn the No. 2 seed for the tournament. However, if they lose, the Commodores will slip to the No. 3 seed, while Mississippi will the No. 2 seed.

With Friday's win, the Commodores improve to 18-3 overall and 8-2 in the conference, while the Wildcats fall to 16-10 overall and 6-5 in the SEC.

The match started off with the Commodores sweeping the doubles competition. However, it didn't come as easy as it might have seemed by the scores. Junior Bobby Reynolds and sophomore Scott Brown continued to play outstanding tennis at the No. 1 position, as they defeated Karim Benmansour and Matt Emery, 8-1. Reynolds and Brown are now 4-0 since joining forces against Auburn last weekend.

At the No. 2 doubles position, junior Chad Harris and sophomore Matt Lockin battled back from being down two breaks of serve and 3-0 to defeat Jesse Witten and Rahim Esmail, 8-4. After falling behind 3-0, Harris and Lockin won six-straight games. At No. 3 doubles, juniors Lewie Smith and Zach Dailey also battled back from 4-1 deficit to defeat Alex Hume and Evan Austin, 8-5. Smith and Dailey are also 4-0 since joining forces back on April 4 against Auburn.

The showcase match of the afternoon featured No. 2-ranked Reynolds and No. 16-ranked Witten, who was the NCAA runner-up last year. The spectators in attendance were not disappointed at all, as both players displayed their solid ground-stroke abilities. Reynolds jumped out on Witten early in the first set, as he got up 5-0. Witten would not go away, as she won the next three games before Reynolds was able to close out the set.

The second set featured the same high level from the baseline by both players. Reynolds was able to grab the momentum late in the second set and had to a chance to serve out the match at 5-3. However, Witten would not let up and was able to break right back and get the match back on serve. Witten would eventually get the set to a tiebreaker, which he went on to win, 7-4.

With the momentum on Witten's side, he jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead in the third set. With Reynolds' back against the wall, he fought his way back into the match and won the next five games, which ended up being the match. With the win, Reynolds is now 10-0 in SEC dual matches, and he will the opportunity a perfect conference season on Sunday against Seth Rose of South Carolina.

The 15th-ranked Harris was able to gut out a three-set thriller over Austin at the No. 2 positon. Harris was able to clinch his 14th dual-match victory and 29th win of the year, as he defeated Austin, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-4. He has also won 13 of his last 16 matches.

The 55th-ranked Lockin continued his hot play at the No. 3 position, as he defeated Benmansour in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Lockin has now won five of his last six dual matches.

Dailey and Brown continued to be productive at the No. 4 and No. 5 positions, respectively. Dailey won his 16th dual match of the year and sixth-straight match, as he defeated Emery, 6-2, 6-2. Brown continued his upswing, as he defeated Esmail in a tight three-set match, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

The Commodores will conclude their regular season at 1 p.m. (EST) Sunday against No. 13 South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.


Vanderbilt Kentucky Winner Score
Bobby Reynolds Jesse Witten VU 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3
Chad Harris Evan Austin VU 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-4
Matt Lockin Karim Benmansour VU 6-4, 6-4
Zach Dailey Matt Emery VU 6-2, 6-2
Scott Brown Rahim Esmail VU 6-4, 5-7, 6-1
Lewie Smith Alex Hume UK 6-4, 1-6, 6-3


Vanderbilt Kentucky Winner Score
Reynolds/Brown Benmansour/Emery VU 8-1
Lockin/Harris Witten/Esmail VU 8-4
Smith/Dailey Austin/Hume VU 8-5




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