Senior Dennis Nevolo took down a nationally ranked opponent to clinch the Illinois victory.
Jan. 30, 2012
ATLANTA - The 15th-ranked Fighting Illini men's tennis team (4-1) took down No. 19 Georgia Tech (1-3), 4-3, Monday morning in the ITA Kick-off Weekend consolation final in Atlanta. Senior Dennis Nevolo clinched the Illini victory with a straight-set win at the No. 1 spot, marking his second victory of the tournament.
"It was an outstanding weekend for Dennis," Illinois head coach Brad Dancer said. "I think he really carried our team through the weekend, and he played a great match today against a really great player. Right now, we're not playing cohesively all the way through as a team. Today, we had to rely on Dennis and his skills to carry us through. While that's a great tribute to him, we need to get out of the situations where we're putting the entire match on his shoulders."
Nevolo captured his second-straight win over a nationally ranked opponent with a convincing 6-4, 6-4 victory over No. 9 Kevin King to break a 3-3 dual-match tie and give the win to the Orange and Blue.
The Illini dropped the doubles point for the second-consecutive day but battled back from an 0-1 deficit to win the first three completed singles matches. Freshmen Tim Kopinski picked up a quick 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 5 singles to even the score for the Orange and Blue. Fellow newcomer Farris Gosea and junior Bruno Abdelnour were also efficient, securing 6-1, 6-1 wins at Nos. 6 and 4, respectively, to set the stage for Nevolo to clinch.
"It was certainly not a great trip for us in terms of our goals," Dancer said. "But Dennis salvaged the weekend with a good decision today. We need to have more players stepping up and rising to the occasion in order to continue winning these tight matches."
The Illini will return to action Friday, Feb. 3 in Durham, N.C., to take on No. 10 Duke at 5 p.m. CT.
1. #2 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. #9 Kevin King (GT) 6-4, 6-4
2. Juan Spir (GT) def. #24 Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) 6-1, 6-4
3. Juan Melian (GT) def. Stephen Hoh (ILL) 7-5, 6-1
4. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) def. Dusan Miljevic (GT) 6-1, 6-1
5. Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Vikram Hundal (GT) 6-0, 6-2
6. Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Eduardo Segura (GT) 6-1, 6-1
1. #2 Kevin King/Juan Spir (GT) def. Dennis Nevolo/Farris Gosea (ILL) 9-8 (7-3)
2. Juan Melian/Vikram Hundal (GT) def. Tim Kopinski/Ross Guignon (ILL) 8-5
3. Dusan Miljevic/Eduardo Segura (GT) vs. Bruno Abdelnour/Stephen Hoh (ILL) 8-8, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (5,6,4,2,3,1)