Top-Seeded Illini Cruise at Blue Gray Classic
The University of Illinois men's tennis team opened the outdoor season today and easily advanced to the second round of the Blue Gray Classic in Montgomery, Ala., by blanking William and Mary, 4-0. The Illini, the top seed in the tournament and ranked second nationally, improve to 11-1 on the season, their best start since 1955.
"For our first match outdoors, the guys played well," said Head Coach Craig Tiley. "We had a week to train and prepare and we beat a feisty William and Mary squad. The guys did a good job but we still have some things we plan to work on this weekend."
The Fighting Illini swept to three doubles wins for the first time since late January to claim an early 1-0 advantage. In singles play, Illinois' 1-2 punch of Oliver Freelove and Cary Franklin both earned straight set victories. Freelove, ranked fourth nationally, routed Trevor Spracklin, 6-3, 6-3, to earn his 20th win of the season. Franklin also earned win No. 20 and improved to 11-1 in all dual matches by sweeping past Lee Harang, 6-2, 6-1.
The clinching win came at the No. 4 spot, as Jakub Teply defeated Brian Lubin, 6-3, 6-4, to move into sole possession of second place on the Illinois career-victory list in singles. Teply is now 106-63 in his career and trails only fellow-senior Gavin Sontag (119), who is sidelined with an injury.
The Fighting Illini will face No. 30 Tulane on Friday in the second round of the Blue Gray Classic. This tournament runs from March 18-21 and includes seven of the top 30 teams in the country.