#19 Illini Suffer First Loss in 5-2 Defeat by #15 Duke
Jan. 31, 2014
DURHAM, N.C - The #19 Illinois men's tennis team struggled to put things together in a tough road test against #15 Duke. The Blue Devils defeated the Illini 5-2 inside Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center in Durham, N.C. Illinois moves to 2-1 as they suffer their first lose of the season. Duke, who was also secured a spot in the National Indoor Championships along with the Illini, moves to 4-2.
"A lot of credit goes to Duke, they were very resilient tonight. We had them on the ropes in all three doubles matches but they were able to squeak out two of those," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "In singles, Duke won three matches where we won the first sets. We certainly had opportunities we didn't capitalize on and our guys will have do a better job of finishing and closing out matches."
The Fighting Illini found itself in an early hole after dropping the doubles point to Duke in tiebreaker fashion. The Illini lost two of three tiebreakers to the Blue Devils. The 4th ranked team of Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon were the lone Illini duo to earn a win, edging out a 7-4 tiebreaker win over Michael Redlicki and Jason Tahir.
The Orange and Blue received its first point by #4 Jared Hiltzik's come from behind victory in three sets. Hiltzik defeated #29 Redlicki 0-6, 6-2, 6-5(5). The Wilmete, Ill., native is 3-0 so far in this young season in singles action.
Duke received great singles play early on to help secure the victory over the Illini. Duke's #77 Josh Levine defeated Blake Bazarnik, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, and #95 Bruno Semenzato defeated Brian Page, 6-5(9), 6-3, to give the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead.
Duke then secured the victory with TJ Pura's 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ross Guignon.
Illinois' #106 Farris Gosea continued to battle in a tight three match set against Fred Saba. In the last match to finish, Gosea claimed the second and final point for the Illini defeating Saba 5-6(6), 6-4, 6-4.
Rounding out the Illini singles competitors was #46 Tim Kopinski. Despite taking an early lead with a first set win, the junior fell to #52 Jason Tahir 6-2, 2-6, 2-6.
The Orange and Blue will look to bounce back in Sunday's road meet with North Carolina before returning home to face more ranked competition with three matches in five days against #29 Notre Dame, #11 Texas A&M and #20 Texas.
No. 2 -- Saba / Semenzato (DUKE) def. #27 Gosea / Bazarnik (ILL), 6-5 (7-4)
No. 3 -- McCall / Pura (DUKE) def. #31 Hiltzik / Jesse (ILL), 6-5(8-6)
No. 2 -- #106 Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Fred Saba (DUKE) 5-6, 6-4, 6-4
No. 3 -- #52 Jason Tahir (DUKE) def. #46 Tim Kopinski (ILL), 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
No. 4 -- #95 Bruno Semenzto (DUKE), def. Brian Page (ILL) 6-5, 6-3
No. 5 -- #77 Josh Levine (DUKE) def. Blake Bazarnik (ILL), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
No. 6 -- TJ Pura (DUKE) def. Ross Guignon (ILL), 2-6, 6-2, 6-2