Junior Johnny Hamui defeated Chris Freeman, 6-4, 6-2.
May 15, 2010
URBANA, Ill. - Illinois' (20-11) run in the NCAA Championships came to an abrupt halt Saturday evening, as the 27th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (21-8) came away with a 4-1 victory at Atkins Tennis Center to advance to its first-ever Sweet 16. The loss snaps the 13th-seeded Illini's streak of eight straight Sweet 16 appearances and was their first loss at home since falling 4-3 to then-No. 15 Stanford on March 21. A two and a half hour rain delay and NCAA stipulations ultimately forced the match to be played indoors. Illinois had not lost inside Atkins Tennis Center since the first match of the season against Virginia, which went on to secure the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. Wisconsin's 24th-ranked Baumann clinched the victory with a 6-4, 7-5 defeat of No. 76 Czerwinski at the top spot.
"We had no desire to come indoors today, but Mother Nature didn't cooperate with us," head coach Brad Dancer said. "I thought we were edgy in doubles yesterday and then didn't play well today and that put us in a hole. (Moritz) Baumann played really well against Marek (Czerwinski). He deserved that match and played some great points and put a lot of pressure on Marek. Wisconsin certainly played well at the spots they needed to to win. I was definitely surprised to see Dennis (Nevolo) go down quickly and Bruno tried hard, but he was a little uptight out there. Everyone else battled back and that's kind of been our motivation all year long, but I think today the hole we dug ourselves was too big."
The Badgers jumped ahead early in doubles, as Billy Bertha and Chris Freeman rattled off four straight points to defeat junior Connor Roth and freshman Stephen Hoh, 8-4 at the No. 3 position, while the 15th-ranked duo of Baumann and Marek Michalicka took a quick 3-1 advantage and never let up en route to an 8-6 victory over No. 69 Czerwinski and junior Abe Souza. Wisconsin carried that momentum over to singles, where it went up 3-0 in the match before junior Johnny Hamui got the Illini on the board with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Freeman.
The three remaining matches were battles to the bitter end, as Czerwinski rallied back in the second set to even the score at four before taking the lead at 5-4, but Baumann responded with three-straight games to clinch the match for the Badgers. Hoh and No. 81 Souza each forced a third set in their respective matches, highlighted by Souza tallying 10-straight games with a 6-0 win in the second set before going up 4-0 in the third against Patrick Pohlmann at No. 3 singles. Souza finished out the year a perfect 14-0 at home, in addition to a team-and career-best 35 wins overall, a 26-3 mark in duals and tied with Cary Franklin and Jakub Teply for seventh all-time for most wins in a single season.
At the conclusion of the NCAA Team Championships next week, Nevolo and Czerwinski will compete in the singles and doubles competition, as Nevolo earned the nod in singles for the second straight year, and also will compete in doubles with Czerwinski.
The top 16 individuals in the latest Campbell's/ITA national rankings released May 3 received an automatic bid into the field leaving 48 at-large bids for singles, while in doubles, 11 teams automatically qualified and 21 received at-large bids. Both Illini are vying for their first-career All-America honor by advancing to the Sweet 16 in singles or Elite Eight in doubles. All-America honors also can be earned by finishing the regular season in the top 20 in singles or the top 10 in doubles in the final ITA poll. Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe were the last two Illini to earn All-America accolades in 2007.
The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 26-31 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
#27 Wisconsin 4, #13 Illinois 1
1. #24 Moritz Baumann (WIS) def. #76 Marek Czerwinski (ILL) 6-4, 7-5
2. #30 Marek Michalicka (WIS) def. #47 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) 6-3, 6-1
3. #81 Abe Souza (ILL) vs. Patrick Pohlmann (WIS) 5-7, 6-0, 4-1, unfinished
4. Johnny Hamui (ILL) def. Chris Freeman (WIS) 6-4, 6-2
5. Stephen Hoh (ILL) vs. Billy Bertha (WIS) 3-6, 6-3, 2-4, unfinished
6. Michael Dierberger (WIS) def. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) 6-1, 6-2
1. #15 Moritz Baumann/Marek Michalicka (WIS) def. #69 Marek Czerwinski/Abe Souza (ILL) 8-6
2. Dennis Nevolo/Johnny Hamui (ILL) vs. Patrick Pohlmann/Michael Dierberger (WIS) 6-6, unfinished
3. Billy Bertha/Chris Freeman (WIS) def. Connor Roth/Stephen Hoh (ILL) 8-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,6,4,1)