No. 41-ranked Dennis Nevolo was named the Big Ten Player of the Week after an impressive showing at the USF Invitational.
Jan. 13, 2009
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Freshman Dennis Nevolo of the No. 15 Illinois men's tennis team earned the season's first Big Ten Player of the Week honor for the week ending Jan. 11, the conference office announced on Tuesday. Nevolo led the Illini charge at the University of South Florida Invitational, as the team grabbed a total of 19 singles wins and eight doubles wins in a field that featured individuals from Florida A&M, Florida State, No. 40 South Florida, and Memphis.
Individually, the No. 41-ranked Nevolo was a perfect 4-0 in singles and started out the weekend with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Florida A&M's Michael Moore. On the second day of the tournament Nevolo knocked off two opponents, first taking down Florida State's Vahid Mirazadeh, 6-2, 6-1, then USF's Mark Olijaca, 6-4, 6-0. Rounding out his singles wins, Nevolo closed out the USF Invitational with a straight sets victory over Memphis' Leon Nasemann, 6-4, 6-0.
In doubles, Nevolo saw success with two different partners. Nevolo and partner Roy Kalmanovich teamed up to dominate Florida A&M's David Jackson and Paul Paige, 8-2. On the final day, Nevolo partnered up with Waylon Chin to down Memphis' Benedikt Fischer and Jordan Smith, 8-1.
The honor is Nevolo's first of his career and Illinois' first honor since senior Ruben Gonzales received the accolade on April 9, 2008. The Orange and Blue as a team clinched a total of four Big Ten weekly honors in 2008.
The Illini are back in action this weekend as they open up the 2009 dual match season at home with a doubleheader on Jan. 16 against Toledo at 12 p.m. CT and Ball State at 6 p.m. On Jan. 17, the Orange and Blue welcome No. 14 Pepperdine to the Atkins Tennis Center with match time set for 6 p.m. CT.