UI Sweeps Past Tulsa, Ball State in Opener
In a rare tennis doubleheader, the University of Illinois men's tennis team, ranked fifth in the country, won 11 of 12 singles matches today to earn a pair of 6-1 victories over No. 36 Tulsa and Ball State. In the process, senior Jakub Teply (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lake Mary) claimed two singles victories, becoming just the fourth Illini in school history to win 100 career singles matches.
"It's always good to start the season off with two wins and we beat two good teams," said Head Coach Craig Tiley. "We started off slow but managed to pull it together and finish the day strong. But there's still some things we need to work on this week to be ready for two top 25 opponents next weekend."
With two wins today, Teply is now 100-61 in his career and joins three Illini at that level. He is now part of an exclusive group which includes current-teammate Gavin Sontag (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora), who heads the century club with 113 wins and counting, Jerry Turek (105) and Mark Long (103).
Teply opened the day with a 6-3, 6-3, win over Tulsa's Shri Ranga Sudhaker at the No. 5 position in the morning. In the second match, the senior swept past Jason Pressel of Ball Sate, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 4 singles for his 100th career victory. Teply currently leads the Illini with 18 singles wins this season.
Teply was one of four Illini to sweep both singles matches today. Other double-winners included Oliver Freelove (Bromley, England/Seven Oaks) at the No. 1 position, Cary Franklin (Atlanta, Ga./St. Pius X) at the No. 2 spot and Sontag at the No. 3 position. Freelove, ranked 13th in the country, now has 96 career singles wins and could be the third Illini senior from this team to crack the century mark.
In doubles action, the team of Freelove/Franklin, rated 12th in the nation, dominated both opponents with an 8-1 win over McGregor/Zilmer of Tulsa at the No. 2 position and another 8-1 win over Ball State's Fernandez/Pressel at the No. 1 spot.
Illinois will play host to two more matches next weekend, as the No. 5 Illini welcome two Top-25 teams to the Atkins Tennis Center. On Friday at 3:30 p.m., Illinois will battle an Alabama team that is ranked 21st in the country and is a perfect 3-0, winning each match by a 7-0 score. On Saturday at 2 p.m., the Illini open the Big Ten season against No. 23 Minnesota.
Illinois 6, Tulsa 1
Illinois 6, Ball State 1