Illinois Downs Michigan 5-2 to Remain Undefeated at Home
April 6, 2014
URBANA, Ill. - The No. 11 Fighting Illini men's tennis team experienced a moment of deja vu Sunday afternoon, defeating the Michigan Wolverines for the second time this season. Illinois moved its Big Ten record to 5-2 after a hard fought 5-2 win over Michigan, in the team's first outdoor match at home this year. Speaking of the home court, the Orange and Blue remain undefeated at Atkins/Khan Tennis Complex, now 9-0.
"A gritty effort from the guys today," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "It was a bit of a strange match in that we would gather momentum and then just not able to carry it forward. You have to credit Michigan for just battling right along with our guys. They never quit."
The Illini found themselves down early after dropping the doubles point in tiebreak sets on courts one and three. The third ranked team of Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski fell 8-7(6) to the 24th ranked team of Barrett Franks and Alex Buzzi.
"In doubles I'm not certain I've ever seen what happened today where we had match points on all three doubles courts and weren't able to capture any of them," added Dancer. "Again, Bruce always has his teams playing good doubles, so we knew that would be tough."
After Julian Childers was defeated by Barrett Franks 6-2, 6-2 on court six, the Orange and Blue battled back in singles, responding shortly after courtesy of No. 42 Tim Kopinski. The junior defeated Shuan Bernstein 6-2, 6-2, on court 3, winning his seventh consecutive match.
"First time in match play that I've seen Tim implement some of the footwork patterns we've discussed for a long time," stated Dancer. "That's an exciting development for him now and in the future."
No. 9 Jared Hiltzik tied the score for the Illini at 2-2 when he took care of Vlad Stefan 7-6 (1), 6-1. The Illini continued to push forward, as Blake Bazarnik followed suit with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Alex Buzzi.
Faris Gosea then clinched the match when he defeated the only ranked opponent of the day in a back and forth contest between No. 115 Alex Petrone. Gosea knocked off Petrone 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-2, to stay undefeated in conference competition.
"Farris again showed big heart, big guts after blowing a match point in the second set to clinch it," said Dancer. "Petrone is a very good player and Farris had to tough one out."
After clinching the victory, Ross Guignon defeated Justin Rossi 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
"Big progress from Ross today," continued Dancer. "Justin Rossi is a warrior and those two kept getting after each other all afternoon."
Up next, the Orange and Blue hit the road for one last regular season Big Ten road trip. Up first is Iowa on April 11, followed by Nebraska on April 13.
No. 1 -- #24 Franks / Buzzi (UM) def. #3 Guignon / Kopinski (ILL), 8-7(6)
No. 2 -- Gosea / Hiltzik (ILL) vs. Bernstein / Wong (UM), 7-7, (6-5), unfinished
No. 3 -- Petrone / Zhu (UM) def. Bazarnik / Jesse (ILL) 8-7(0)
No. 1 -- #23 Farris Gosea (ILL) def. #115 Alex Petrone (UM), 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-2
No. 2 -- #9 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) def. Vlad Stefan (UM), 7-6(1), 6-1
No. 3 -- #42 Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Shaun Bernstein (UM), 6-2, 6-2
No. 4 -- Ross Guignon (ILL) def. Justin Rossi (UM) 6-1, 1-6, 6-4
No. 5 -- Blake Bazarnik (ILL) def. Alex Buzzi (UM), 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
No. 6 - Barrett Franks (UM) def. Julian Childers, 6-2, 6-2