No. 14 Kentucky advances in ITA Championships

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With Kentucky's chances to advance to the Intercollegiate Tennis Associations Indoor Championships on the line, UK junior Alberto Gonzalez claimed a stellar come-from-behind victory, clinching the decisive fourth point for Kentucky's 4-3 victory Sunday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.

After losing the first set in a tie breaker, Gonzalez and Wake Forest's Danny Kreyman batted back-and-forth in the second set with each making big plays to tie the set at four. But in the ninth game of the second set, Gonzalez would set the tone for the rest of the match, winning at deuce to build his momentum. The native of Bradenton, Fla., never trailed in the match again, claiming the next game to win the second set 6-4.

In the third set, Gonzalez dominated, winning the first two games. Kreyman grabbed the third game to make it 2-1, but Gonzalez would answer, holding serve and taking a commanding 3-1 lead. The freshman Kreyman posted his last victory of the match when he won the fifth game and Gonzalez posted three straight points to end the match and claim the clinching victory 6-7 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2.

"We really felt like Alberto Gonzalez stepped up his level of play this weekend posting big wins for us," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "It is the best that he has played since he has been at Kentucky. He played with a lot of confidence this weekend against good Michigan and Wake Forest players and, hopefully, he will continue to do that."

The win for Kentucky (4-1) marks the first time since 2005 that the Wildcats have advanced to the final 16 of the indoors or outdoors championships. Kentucky will travel to Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 12-15 to play in the final rounds.

"Qualifying for the final 16 of the tournament is a major step forward for us in our non-conference play," Emery said. "Wake Forest has a very good team and they will probably be a sweet 16 team at the end of the year, so this is a big win for us."

UK will return to action on Saturday when they play host to No. 2 Virginia at noon ET and in-state foe Eastern Kentucky at 8 p.m. ET.

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