Illini Take Seven Wins on Day One of Two Tournaments
Sept. 21, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Fighting Illini men's tennis team went a combined 7-4 Friday, capturing three wins at the University of Virginia Ranked +1 Invitational in Charlottesville, Va., and four wins across the country at the Audi Napa Valley Tennis Classic in St. Helena, Calif. Freshman Brian Page led the way with wins in both singles and doubles play.
"On a day when we weren't at our absolute best, we still found a way to overcome some obstacles and advance," head coach Brad Dancer said of his team at the UVa Ranked +1 Invite. "At the end of the day, that's what matters."
After a shaky start with two losses in doubles play, the Orange and Blue turned the day around in Virginia, going a perfect 3-0 in singles. Senior Bruno Abdelnour, who is ranked No. 120 nationally and seeded fifth in his draw, breezed through a 6-4, 6-1 bout with Louisville's Austin Siegel in his season debut to advance to the quarterfinals of the orange bracket.
Meanwhile, freshman Julian Childers punched his ticket to the blue bracket quarterfinals and picked up his first win in an Illini uniform with a quick 7-6(0), 6-1 decision over fourth-seeded David Hopkins (Wake Forest), who is ranked 102nd in the nation. Fellow newcomer Jared Hiltzik came out on top in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 thriller with Danil Zelenkov (George Washington) to secure his place among the final eight in the white bracket.
"Bruno started really rusty today but did a great job playing his first match in a long time," Dancer said. "He was able to shake off that rust and get going after getting in an early hole. He showed his typical mental resiliency there. Julian getting his first collegiate win today was huge for him, and Jared was able to advance despite not playing his best."
On the west coast, the Illini split their singles matches, going 2-2 to start the day. Newcomer Page edged Harvard's Casey MacMaster in a tight 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) battle, while No. 118 Farris Gosea, a sophomore, added to the Orange and Blue cause with a swift 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 81 Matt Kandath of Stanford.
In doubles play, sophomores Gosea and Tim Kopinski teamed up for the first time in their careers, taking an 8-3 victory over Gage Brymer and Konrad Zieba, one of the top junior-level tandems in the nation. Senior Stephen Hoh and Page followed up with an efficient 8-2 win over California's Mads Engsted and Riki McLachlan to improve to a team-leading 4-0 on the season.
Both Illini squads will return to the court tomorrow. Action in Virginia resumes at 8 a.m. CT and will feature the final doubles round, followed by two rounds of singles. Play in Napa Valley continues at 12:30 p.m. CT with another round of both singles and doubles.
Napa Valley Tennis Classic