Trio of Illini Bow Out in First Round of Singles
May 21, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - Wednesday marked the start of the First Round of the NCAA Singles Championships as eight-seed Jared Hiltzik, at-large selection Farris Gosea, and even alternate Tim Kopinski took to the courts in Athens, Georgia, to represent the Orange and Blue. Unfortunately for Illinois, the trio went 0-3 on the day, leaving the doubles team of Kopinski and Ross Guignon left in tournament action.
Hiltzik squared off against California's Ben McLachlan and couldn't take advantage of gaining an early break in the first set. The sophomore watched his 4-2 lead slip away as McLachlan produced five of the next six games. Hiltzik wouldn't let history repeat itself in the second set. After earning yet another early break in the set, the Wilmette native held on to take it 6-4. In the third set, McLachlan was up 4-3 when he earned the coveted break to eventually clinch the match on serve.
Gosea's matchup with Wake Forest's Romain Bogaerts was even and competitive down to the wire as the Demon Deacon surged ahead at just the right moment in each set. Each competitor held serve in the first set, forcing a tiebreak. Tied four-four, Bogaerts produced three straight points to take it 7-6(4).
It was once again back and forth in the second set, with each player holding serve till five-five. Romain then earned a break and rattled off three consecutive points to reach match point. Gosea rallied and fought to deuce, but in the end, Romain got the upper hand and took it 7-5.
Kopinski entered the week as the fourth alternate but found himself taking the final spot, replacing No. 7 seed Axel Alvarez Llamas of Oklahoma. Kopinski was on course in changing the Illini's singles fate, taking the first set 6-3 against Virginia Tech's Amerigo Contini. Kopinski and Contini then battled to a second set tiebreaker where Contini forced a third set with a 7-2 decision. The Hokie then won the first four games of the third set before clinching it 6-2.
Illinois may be done in singles competition but the five-eight seeded team of Kopinski and Guignon start their doubles quest tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT vs. Clemson's Hunter Harrington and Dominique Maden.
Singles - First Round
Romain Bogaerts (Wake) def. Farris Gosea (ILL), 7-6(4), 7-5
Ben McLachlan (CAL) def. Eight-Seed Jared Hiltzik (ILL), 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
Amerigo Cantini (VT) def. Tim Kopinski (ILL), 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-2