DURHAM, N.C. – The ninth-seeded Duke men’s tennis team begins third round action at the 2013 NCAA Div. 1 Men’s Tennis Team Championships with its Round of 16 match against eighth-seeded Kentucky under the lights at the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Center Thursday, May 18 at 8 p.m. ET. The winner of the Duke vs. Kentucky match will meet the winner of the UCLA and Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals Saturday, May 18 at 5 p.m. ET.
“We are really looking forward to the challenge of Kentucky in the Round of 16 of NCAAs,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “Everyone who makes it this far has done something right. Kentucky is a tough SEC team, and we have a lot of respect for their program. Our guys have made some big strides since the ACC Tournament, and I am confident we are going to leave everything we have on the courts in Champaign.”
After receiving the No. 9 seed and hosting the NCAA Durham Regional, Duke defeated Coastal Carolina, 4-0, in the first round Friday, before defeating upset-minded UNC Wilmington, 4-0, in Saturday’s second round to advance to the 2013 NCAA Team Championships.
Duke owns an all-time record of 43-22 in 22 NCAA Championship appearances. The Blue Devils have earned a spot in the tournament for 22 consecutive seasons, winning at least one match each year. Duke has advanced to the NCAA Team Championships in each of the past four seasons. Last season, the Blue Devils defeated Baylor, 4-0, in the Round of 16, before falling to reigning National Champion Southern California in the quarterfinals.
Eighth-seeded Kentucky advanced to the Round of 16 after defeating Western Michigan, 4-0, in the first round and Virginia Tech, 4-1, in the second round. For the season, the Wildcats boast an overall 22-11 record. Kentucky boasts two ranked players in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, including fifth-ranked Anthony Rossi and No. 23 Tom Jomby. In doubles, Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai are the lone pair listed in the rankings.
Thursday will mark the 14th all-time meeting between Duke and Kentucky, with the Blue Devils holding the series lead, 10-3. The squads have met on two occasions in the NCAA Championships, splitting the meetings. The Wildcats won the last meeting between the two schools, 4-1, in the Round of 16 on May 18, 2002.