CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (FOX 56) – Kentucky men’s tennis junior, Gabriel Diallo’s, run in the NCAA Singles Tournament came to an end on Thursday afternoon, falling in the Elite Eight to Tennessee’s No. 3 Adam Walton in a three-set thriller 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) at the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex.
Diallo ends his year with the most wins in singles on the team, with a 38-8 record and finishing 21-4 in dual matches. He started the team season at the three position, going 10-1, and then moved up the singles lineup to the no. 2 spot, where he finished with an 11-3 record.
Diallo’s junior season was his most accomplished yet, capped off by his best finish in the singles tournament of his career. He was named to both the All-Southeastern Conference First Team and the All-SEC Tournament Team in addition to appearing in each Intercollegiate Tennis Association Singles ranking. Diallo finished in the top 25 every week, with his highest ranking of No. 4, and earned the match-clinching point against No. 1 TCU to send UK to its first Final Four in program history.
During his 10 days at the Atkins Tennis Center, the Montreal native played in three dual matches and four tournament matches, finishing with a 5-2 record in singles.
Diallo and Walton split their first four games in the first set to tie it, two games all. Diallo managed to take two-game lead, down 40-30 but forcing deuce point to take a 4-2 lead. While Walton made a bit of a comeback, down just 5-4 at another deuce point, the Kentucky standout forced him to opposite ends of the court, taking the first set, 6-4.
While down 2-0, Diallo rattled off three straight games in the second set to claim a small advantage. Walton did just the same afterwards, however, to stay in front leading five games to three. Tennessee’s choice for its top position then capped off the set while leading 40-love and tied the match.
The third set was just as much of a battle. With Diallo up 5-4, Walton managed push it to six games all through consistent play but fell behind Diallo 3-1 in the tiebreaker. From there, the Tennessee graduate student rattled off six-straight, claiming the match and advancing to the semifinal.
Walton, the tournament’s three-seed, will face Florida’s top-seeded Ben Shelton for a spot in the championship tomorrow afternoon.
Gabriel Diallo’s 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
Singles Elite Eight
No. 3 Adam Walton (TENN) def. Gabriel Diallo (UK) 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)