CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Kentucky’s Gabriel Diallo advanced to his first Elite Eight in the individual NCAA Tournament, standing victorious against Ohio State’s No. 9-16 Matej Vocel by a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 result in the Round of 16 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex on Wednesday afternoon.
Diallo now stands with an unbelievable 38-7 overall record this year, shattering his previous year’s win total of 19. He now holds 65 wins in singles in his collegiate career. Today’s match was the second-straight year that Diallo advanced to the Sweet 16.
The junior will now take on Tennessee’s No. 3 Adam Walton tomorrow. When the Wildcats and Volunteers played during the regular season, Walton defeated Liam Draxl in three sets at the Hilary J. Boone Complex, but UK secured the team win. UT’s graduate student and its choice for the top spot in team play has won all three of his tournament matches in straight sets.
Montreal native Diallo earned his second win against Vocel in the past five days, which also marked his second victory over a seeded opponent in three tournament matches. Diallo took down Vocel, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, in the Final Four on Saturday in straight sets to help UK advance to the title match for the first time in program history.
Diallo opened the match with a lead in the first set, but Vocel came storming back to stay close. However, the choice for UK’s second position this season was able to close it out, winning the first set by a 6-4 score to stay in front.
The second set was mostly going Vocel’s way and stayed just as tight as the previous set. The key moment in the second came during a deuce point when Diallo was leading, 4-3, and had an opportunity to potentially pull away and take the match in straight sets. Vocel managed to claim the point, though, and rattled off three consecutive games to push the match to a third set.
Diallo and Vocel again went back-and-forth during the third set. While down 5-4, Diallo managed to force a deuce point and this time win it and tie it at five games all. He impressively took another game for a 6-5 lead, giving him the serve and a chance to close out the Sweet 16 matchup.
On the final point, while leading in the game 40-15, Diallo used his strong serve and return shot to force Vocel to stay moving, while the OSU athlete sent the ball out of play and gave Diallo the win.
2022 NCAA Singles Championships Results
Singles Rd. 64:
Eduardo Nava (WF) def. No. 4 Liam Draxl (UK) 4-6, 2-1 (retired)
Gabriel Diallo (UK) def. No. 5 Adrian Boitan (BAY) 6-3, 6-2
Singles Rd. 32
Gabriel Diallo (UK) def. Chris Rodesch (UVA) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Singles Rd. 16
Gabriel Diallo (UK) def. No. 9-16 Matej Vocel (OSU) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
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