Kevin Anderson and the Illini are ready for top-notch competition as they host No. 8 Duke and No. 41 Tennessee this weekend.
Feb. 1, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -
The No. 7 Illinois men's tennis team continues its home schedule when its hosts No. 8 Duke on Friday, Feb. 2, and No. 41 Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 3. Both matches are slated for a 6 p.m. start at the Atkins Tennis Center.
"We're looking forward to having two great teams come into our building," head coach Brad Dancer. "I know our fan base will make a difference for our guys. We've had a strong week of practice and are excited about the opportunity."
Illinois is looking to return to its winning ways as they play their fourth and fifth straight nationally-ranked opponents. Action can be followed online through live scoring at figtingillini.com, while a full recap for the Illini's matches against Duke and Tennessee can be found online following the end of the match.
STATE OF THE ILLINI
The Illini men's tennis team will be looking to get back on track after suffering a tough loss to No. 8 Virginia, 5-2, in its last outing. In the loss, junior Ryan Rowe and senior GD Jones scored the only points for Illinois, while the doubles tandem of juniors Kevin Anderson and Ruben Gonzales remained unbeaten at No. 1 doubles with a victory over the top team from the Cavaliers. Illinois enters the match 2-1 on the season.
The men's team returns from a short road trip to Indiana and Virginia, but is looking forward to their second home match of the season when they take on both No. 8 Duke and No. 41 Tennessee in the friendly confines of the Atkins Tennis Center. The home of the Illini is one of the best facilities to watch collegiate tennis in the entire country. It also has been a hard place for opposing teams to claim a victory, as the Illini have posted a 139-28 (.831) record on its home court since moving to the facility in 1992. Overall, the Fighting Illini have been almost unbeatable at home, carding an overall record of 323-113 (.740). Entering the season, the squad is looking to build on their five-match winning streak at home, which dates back to April 8, 2006.
ILLINOIS' HISTORY AGAINST WEEKEND OPPONENTS
The Orange and Blue take on the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils for the 13th time in the history of the two program's rivalry. In last year's meeting, Illinois entered the matchup ranked third in the country, meeting then No. 8 Duke in Durham, N.C. Illinois came out of the match a 6-1 victor.
The Tennessee men come to town almost a week after the Illini women's tennis team played host to the Lady Volunteers on Jan. 28. The Tennessee men lead the all-time series over Illinois, 4-2.
PUT YOUR DUKES UP
Duke brings a 2-0 record into Urbana, and is coming off a 4-2 victory over Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday, Jan. 27. Freshman Dylan Arnould clinched the tight victory for then seventh-ranked Duke in a three-set thriller. In the win, Duke was tested by VCU, with the match coming down to the final two matches at No. 5 and No. 6 singles. The Blue Devils struggled in those matches, but were able to pull out three-set victories in both matches en route to the win.
Duke is coached by Jay Lapidus, who is in his 18th year at the helm of the program. Leading the charge for the Blue Devils on the court are No. 80 Peter Rodrigues, No. 100 Joey Atas and No. 54 Kiril Dimitrov in singles, while in doubles, Atas and David Goulet boast a No. 4 ranking.
ROCKY TOP ROLLING ALONG
Tennessee rolls into town undefeated on the season at 3-0, downing Memphis, UT-Chattanooga and No. 29 Louisville in its opening home stretch. The Illini are the only away match for the Volunteers in their first 10 matches of the season. In UT's last outing, they cruised to a 7-0 win over Louisville. On the season, the Volunteers have yet to drop a dual match point to their opponents, winning three straight matches by a score of 7-0.
In the forefront of Tennessee's lineup are No. 24 Bobby Cameron, Ben Rogers and Kiril Tcherveniachki. In doubles, the Orange boast two teams ranked in the nation with the duo of Kaden Hensel and Cameron, at No. 5, and No. 34 Adam Hubble and Rogers.
Sam Winterbotham is the head coach of Tennessee, and is entering his first year at the helm of the program.