No. 106 Marek Czerwinski topped No. 19 Casey Watt, 7-5, 6-4.
March 2, 2010
URBANA, Ill. - Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in over a month, the 12th-ranked Illini men's tennis team (5-5) got back on track with a 5-2 defeat of No. 38 Notre Dame (6-6) Tuesday night at Atkins Tennis Center. Freshman Stephen Hoh clinched the victory after rallying back in a thrilling, three-set win over David Anderson, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
"The biggest key in Stephen's match was composure," head coach Brad Dancer said. "He really stayed calm and trusted his shots and earned the win. Bruno (Abdelnour) came up huge for us, especially playing in a situation where nerves are on the line. You can see the toughness and tenacity Abe's (Souza) playing with right now and Marek (Czerwinski) was very focused tonight and wasn't as emotional as he usually is. There was some tremendous leadership on their part in staying with their tactics and with what they wanted to do. I'm really proud of both of them."
With sophomore Dennis Nevolo forced to sit out due to illness, the Illini made some last-minute adjustments to the lineup that ended up paying off big for several players. No. 106 senior Marek Czerwinski filled in at No. 1 singles and captured a straight sets upset over No. 19 Casey Watt, 7-5, 6-4, while freshman Bruno Abdelnour made his singles dual debut and topped Blas Moros, 6-4, 6-3 to setup Hoh's match-clinching victory. No. 66 junior Abe Souza closed out the night with a grueling, come-from-behind victory over No. 72 Daniel Stahl, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8).
Illinois captured an early 1-0 lead after securing the doubles point, as Abdelnour and junior Johnny Hamui, who were playing together for the first time this season, cruised to an 8-1 win over Anderson and Matt Johnson. Souza and junior Connor Roth clinched the point with an 8-6 defeat of Niall Fitzgerald and Tyler Davis.
The Illini close out their homestand Friday night against No. 17 Texas A&M at 6 p.m. at Atkins Tennis Center.
#12 Illinois 5, #38 Notre Dame 2
1. #106 Marek Czerwinski (ILL) def. #19 Casey Watt (ND) 7-5, 6-4
2. Stephen Havens (ND) def. Johnny Hamui (ILL) 6-0, 6-1
3. #66 Abe Souza (ILL) def. #72 Daniel Stahl (ND) 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8)
4. Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. David Anderson (ND) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
5. Samuel Keeton (ND) def. Connor Roth (ILL) 6-2, 6-1
6. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) def. Blas Moros (ND) 6-4, 6-3
1. Casey Watt/Stephen Havens (ND) def. #49 Marek Czerwinski/Stephen Hoh (ILL) 8-4
2. Abe Souza/Connor Roth (ILL) def. Niall Fitzgerald/Tyler Davis (ND) 8-6
3. Bruno Abdelnour/Johnny Hamui (ILL) def. David Anderson/Matt Johnson (ND) 8-1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (5,2,1,6,4,3)