LEXINGTON, Ky. (9/23/13) – Sophomore and Bowling Green, Ky., native Beck Pennington lead the charge in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Fall Invitational this weekend, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.
“Overall I felt like I had a good tournament this weekend,” Pennington said. “I’m finally feeling more confident on the court and I have learned what I need to do in practice in order to win the type of matches that I will be playing in like the semifinals today.”
Along the way, Pennington knocked off three ranked opponents beating three players ranked in the latest release of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s singles and doubles rankings.
In the opening round, Pennington knocked off No. 40 Matle Stropp of Mississippi State, 6-3, 7-6. After a win in the second round, Pennington defeated Texas A&M’s Behzad Mijavi, also in straight sets, coming away with a 6-1, 6-4 win to advance to the Elite Eight.
“Overall, I feel like we are steadily showing improvement,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “This weekend was a step in the right direction. We as a staff have very high expectations for this team. We need to get back to work to be in position to win in the spring.”
In the round of eight, Pennington faced off against No. 105 Daniel Cochrane of Auburn University, who he took care of in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. The highlight win of the weekend would come on Saturday afternoon, as Pennington dismissed No. 14 Tsveton Mihov of South Carolina in straight sets 6-4, 3-6,6-2.
Pennington would see his run come to an end on Sunday morning, with a 7-5, 7-6 (4) loss to Austin Smith of the Georgia Bulldogs in the Final Four.
“I was proud of the way Beck competed this weekend,” Kauffmann said. “His hard work is paying off. I look forward to watching him develop into an impact player for us.” “Overall I felt like I had a good tournament this weekend,” Pennington said. “I’m finally feeling more confident on the court and I have learned what I need to do in practice in order to win the type of matches that I will be playing in like the semifinals today.”
Tom Jomby, who was the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament was knocked out in the Sweet 16 after picking up two wins over Justin Butsch of LSU in the round of 32, and Rhys Johnson of Vanderbilt, 7-5, 3-6, 7-2.
Jomby teamed up with Kevin Lai, who are currently No. 4 in the nation for doubles, as the pair fell in the opening round, 8-6.
At the Caviler Invitational in Charlottesville, Va., Ryuji Hirooka, who advanced to the consolation finals of the white division bracket, picking up a key 6-3, 6-0 win over Pedro Dumont of Wake Forest along the way, led the Wildcats insingles play. Hirooka then knocked off Joe Salisbury of Memphis, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the finals.
Panav Jha and Alejandro Gomez were also in action for UK on the weekend, with Jhadropping three matches over the course of the weekend and then Gomez having a solid showing in the Blue Consolation Bracket.
After dropping his first two matches, Gomez defeated Joao Montiero of Virginia Tech, 7-5, 7-6, before collecting a straight set, 6-3, 6-1 win over Alexander Maisin of Binghamton.
Information provided by Chris Shoals (UK Athletics)
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