Ryler DeHeart needs just five more wins to break the Illinois school record for most career singles wins.
Feb. 11, 2006
URBANA, Ill. - The third-ranked Fighting Illini shut out their fourth opponent of the season dominating No. 51 Harvard on Saturday night at the Atkins Tennis Center. Illinois defeated the Crimson 7-0 to improve to 6-0 and have now won 12 straight at home including putting together a 50-1 home record since March 30, 2002.
"I am very proud of the boys to come out and maintain focus on a double day," Coach Dancer said. "I really think they did a great job overall."
Illinois struck early and often to sweep the doubles competition and earn the point. Ryan Rowe (Moline, Ill.) returned to the doubles lineup to team with Kevin Anderson (Johannesburg, South Africa) and continue their domination at the No. 1 spot. The duo took down the 15th-ranked tandem of Ashwin Kumar and Sasha Ermakov 8-2. Pramod Dabir (Saratoga, Calif.) and GD Jones (Auckland, New Zealand) won their match in convincing fashion with an 8-3 dismantling of Dan Nguyen and Brian Wan on court three to seal the doubles point. Ryler DeHeart (Tampa, Fla.) and Ruben Gonzales (Terre Haute, Ind.) have yet to be defeated in the dual season after they notched their sixth victory with an 8-5 win over Brandon Chiu and Scott Deneberg.
Seventh-ranked DeHeart quickly put the Illini ahead 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Brian Wan at No. 1 and soon after 37th-ranked Anderson put Illinois one point away from the win with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Kumar at No. 3. Jones clinched the Illini victory with his 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Ermakov at court two. On court six, Dabir took the first set 6-4, but was down 2-4 in the second. The senior rebounded with four straight games to take the match 6-4, 6-4 over Denenberg. Marc Spicijaric (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) stunned Brandon Chiu at No. 5. The Illini rookie split the first two sets and found himself down 4-1 in the third, but the freshman fought back to take the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Gonzales finished off the Crimson with a 7-5, 7-6(3) win over Christopher Clayton.
"Ruben and Ryler were exceptional all day," Dancer said. "They were the leaders on Tuesday and it was great to see those guys come out here and get it done again."
The Illini will have a week to prepare for the USTA/ITA National Men's Indoor Championships hosted by the University of Washington in Seattle. Sixteen of the nation's top tennis programs will compete for the prestigious championship, Feb. 17-20. The Orange and Blue open the first round against No. 14 seed and 45th-ranked Arkansas at 5:30 p.m. Arkansas earned a berth in the tournament by winning the ITA Central Region Indoor Championships. Illinois won its second straight USTA/ITA title the last time the event was held in Seattle in 2004.
Saturday's Results No. 3 ILLINOIS 7, No. 51 Harvard 0
Doubles: 1. Anderson/Rowe (ILL) def. No. 15 Kumar/Ermakov (HU); 8-2 2. DeHeart/Gonzales (ILL) def. Chiu/Deneberg (HU); 8-5 3. Jones/Dabir (ILL) def. Nguyen/Wan (HU); 8-3 Order of finish: 3, 1, 2
Singles: 1. No. 7 DeHeart (ILL) def. Brian Wan (HU); 6-4, 6-3 2. GD Jones (ILL) def. Sasha Ermakov (HU); 6-3, 6-1 3. No. 37 Kevin Anderson (ILL) def. Ashwin Kumar (HU); 6-4, 6-2 4. No. 59 Ruben Gonzales (ILL) def. Christopher Clayton (HU); 7-5, 7-6(5) 5. Marc Spicijaric (ILL) def. Brandon Chiu (HU); 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 6. Pramod Dabir (ILL) def. Scott Deneberg (HU); 6-4, 6-4 Order of finish: 1, 3, 2, 6, 5, 4