Gonzales, Nevolo Advance in Doubles Play at JSM Challenger
Nov. 12, 2012
URBANA, Ill. - Former Fighting Illini standouts Dennis Nevolo and Ruben Gonzales captured a doubles win to advance to the second round of the JSM Challenger Monday evening at Atkins Tennis Center, highlighting day three of the eight-day USTA Pro Circuit tournament.
"The event gives the current guys a chance to gain exposure and former guys a chance to further their careers," Illini head coach Brad Dancer said. "Dennis and Ruben took advantage of the opportunity to compete in the main draw by getting a win today. It's really special. I get emotionally invested with the former Illini when I watch them, and I just really want them to win each and every match."
Two-time NCAA All-American Nevolo competed in Urbana for the first time since ending his collegiate career last spring. He and Gonzales paired up to edge British tandem David Rice and Sean Thornley, 7-6(3), 6-4. With the win, the duo advanced to round two.
Meanwhile, current Illini sophomore Tim Kopinski earned a wild card to the main singles draw, making his debut in a main draw of a USTA Pro Circuit event. Kopinski came up short in a 6-3, 6-2 decision against fellow American Bradley Klahn.
"This was an important experience for Tim," Dancer said. "He is a very determined, very tough young man, and he needs more and more exposure and experiences like this. I think that's why the committee chose to give him this chance. I think they felt really comfortable with the time and the effort he puts into everything. He has been on a great path since the day he arrived here, and if he stays on that path, he's going to do some things he probably doesn't even think he is capable of doing."
Play resumes tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT. Illini sophomores Farris Gosea and Kopinski will team up in the main doubles draw at approximately 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by Nevolo's round-one singles match. Defending champion Alex Kuznetsov and top-seeded Michael Russell, the 2009 JSM Challenger winner, will take the court in singles play tomorrow afternoon.
The JSM Challenger marks the final event of the USTA Pro Circuit season. Action will be streamed live at procircuit.usta.com.
Doubles - First Round
Qualifying Singles - Quarterfinals
Qualifying Doubles - Finals