Illini Conference Surge Continues at Wisconsin
March 29, 2013
MADISON, Wis. - The hot start to Big Ten play continues for the #19 Illinois men's tennis team (11-6, 4-0 B1G) who earned their first road conference win tonight at Wisconsin (10-6, 1-3 B1G). After dropping the doubles point and trailing 1-0, the Illini exhibited dominant singles play to claim a 6-1 victory over the Badgers.
As a result, the Orange and Blue are now 4-0 in Big Ten competition. This marks the fifth time in Dancer's eight-year reign as head coach that the Illini have started at least 4-0 against conference foes. In addition, Coach Dancer is now 8-2 against Wisconsin in that span.
"We are always pleased to get a Big Ten road victory for those are not easy to come by," said Dancer. "Madison is a tough place to play and they have a lot of great players. At the same time, we are capable of doing more than what we did tonight."
The Illini started the night on a sour note after dropping the doubles matches on both courts one and three. #22 Ross Guignon / Tim Kopinsi suffered their first doubles defeat in eight matches, falling to Billy Bertha / Alexander Kostanov 8-6. Then Jahongir Jalalov / Oskar Wikberg finished it off for Wisconsin by defeating Bruno Abdelnour / Farris Gosea 8-2.
However, the Orange and Blue bounced back in a major way in the singles portion of the competition. Farris Gosea evened the score at one after claiming a quick 6-2, 6-1 victory over Kokorev in the six slot. The sophomore has now won five straight singles matches, the longest active streak on the squad.
Ross Guignon then delivered the first lead of the day for the Illini after defeating Jalalov 6-2, 6-1 on court five. Then, after Wisconsin's Billy Bertha retired in the second set, handing Kopinski the victory, the momentum shifted in the Illini's favor.
Next, senior veteran Stephen Hoh showed some comeback grit in the four spot. Down 4-3 in the first set, Hoh rallied to take it 6-4. Then, tied at 4-4 in the second set, Hoh tallied the next two games to clinch the match 6-4, 6-4 and the overall match for the Illini with the score at 4-1.
Hoh was not the lone Illini to rally, for #42 Jared Hiltzik dropped the first set to Satral 6-4 before battling back to win the next two sets 7-5, 6-1. Furthermore, Bruno Abdelnour dueled Kostanov in a tiebreaker third set. Facing a loss down 9-8, Abdelnour fought back to win 11-9 and push the final score to 6-1 Illinois.
Also to note, Wisconsin was not the first match the Illini played on Friday, as the Orange and Blue competed in an impromptu contest against Wisconsin-Eau Claire, experimenting once again with Dancer's unique scoring format. Thus, Illinois took the match by the score of 66-10 as they swept all six singles and all three doubles matches. The Illini are now 3-0 this season when playing under the cumulative format. Finally, the full results of that match, along with Wisconsin's, is listed below.
#19 ILLINOIS 6, WISCONSIN 1
1. #42 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) def. Petr Satral (WIS) 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
2. Tim Kopinsi (ILL) def. Billy Bertha (WIS) 7-5, 2-1, retired
3. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) def. Alexander Kostanov (WIS) 7-6(3), 4-6, 11-9
4. Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Oskar Wikberg (WIS) 6-4, 6-4
5. Ross Guignon (ILL) def. Jakhongir Jalalov (WIS) 6-2, 6-1
6. Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Alexander Kokorev (WIS) 6-2, 6-1
1. Bertha/Kostanov (WIS) def. #22 Guignon/Kopinski (ILL) 8-6
2. Kokorev/Satral (WIS) vs. Hiltzik/Jesse (ILL) 6-6, unfinished
3. Jalalov/Wikberg (WIS) def. Abdelnour/Gosea (ILL) 8-2
#19 ILLINOIS 66, WISCONSIN-EAU CLAIRE 10
1. Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Ryan Vande Linde (UWEC) 8-1
2. Jared Hiltzik (ILL) def. Florent Marco (UWEC) 8-0
3. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) def. Brayden Parman (UWEC) 8-1
4. Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. David Stingley (UWEC) 8-3
5. Ross Guignon (ILL) def. Zack Katz (UWEC) 8-0
6. Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Tomas Benzo (UWEC) 8-0
1. Abdelnour/Gosea (ILL) def. Vande Linde/Meier (UWEC) 6-3
2. Page/Guignon (ILL) def. Stingley/Marco (UWEC) 6-2
3. Hiltzik/Jesse (ILL) def. Parman/Katz (UWEC) 6-0