Dennis Nevolo swept Miami's Carl Sundberg, 6-0, 6-3 in action today.
Sept. 20, 2009
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. - The Illinois men's tennis team wrapped up a successful weekend of competition at the third annual Olympia Fields Country Club (OFCC) Fighting Illini Invitational earlier today. As a team, the Illini finished 5-0 in doubles and 12-4 in singles play, competing against players from Florida State, Miami (FL), Northwestern and Notre Dame in the three-day invitational.
"Once again, this was a phenomenal event," Illinois head coach Brad Dancer said. "I would like to give a huge thanks to Olympia Fields and the entire organization. I'm very pleased with our effort this weekend. If we keep it up, we'll make tremendous improvements throughout the fall."
Sophomore Dennis Nevolo, ranked No. 24 in the preseason singles rankings, picked up his second win of the weekend over a ranked opponent, defeating No. 79 Carl Sundberg of Miami, 6-0, 6-3 and later in the day, he partnered with teammate senior Marek Czerwinski to top Florida State's seventh-ranked doubles duo of Vahid Mirzadeh and Jean-Yves Aubone, 8-6.
"Dennis did a better job of managing his tension levels," Dancer said, "as he sometimes plays uptight - he began to find that rhythm of playing with purpose, but in an unrestricted manner. Marek displayed great maturity in his shot selection and composure and was a force in doubles for their tandem. I think he can continue to sue the doubles play as a means of 'freeing' up his singles play. He has another gear he can go into that we want him to keep tapping."
Junior Abe Souza battled back in his lone match of the day to defeat Notre Dame's Stephen Havens, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
"Abe gained his best clarity in his last match," Dancer said, where Havens' play in the first set forced Abe to raise his own level and get away from the analytical aspects."
Fellow junior Connor Roth lost a hard-fought two-hours plus match to Notre Dame's Casey Watt, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9) for his lone loss of the weekend.
"This is one of the first weekends I've seen Connor begin to implement some of the things we see in practice, into match play," Dancer said. "He is slowly learning to trust his shots instead of relying on running around. He still has significant gains to make in his focus on targets, but hopefully he can build on some of his play."
The weekend also provided first-year assistant coach Marcos Asse with several opportunities to see the Illini in action.
"I was very pleased with the composure of our players when they were down or in a tough situation," Asse said. "They kept believing and I think the proof was in the results."
Aubone was named Most Outstanding Player of the invitational, after claiming three wins over ranked opponents to finish 3-1 on the weekend.