Kopinski Named B1G Tennis Athlete of the Week
Feb. 11, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – On Tuesday afternoon, the conference office named Tim Kopinski the Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week. The honor caps off a momentous week that witnessed the No. 22 Illini take down No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 10 Texas in a span of five days.
Kopinski played a huge factor in the Illini's success, earning four combined singles and doubles wins over opponents ranked in the top-25. On Feb. 5, Kopinski defeated Notre Dame's Josh Hagar in straight sets (6-4, 6-3) after downing No. 21 Greg Andrews/Alex Lawson 6-2 in doubles. On Feb. 7, Kopinski boosted the Illini with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over No. 13 Jeremy Efferding of Texas A&M.
Kopinski then found himself on center stage on Feb. 9 vs. Texas. After No. 4 Kopinski/Guignon cruised to a 6-1 win over No. 5 Hess-Olesen/Glasspool in doubles, the junior found himself in a three-set battle with No. 24 George Goldhoff.
Texas was on the verge of claiming the overall team match, up 3-2 over the Illini, and more importantly, Goldhoff was up 5-4 in a decisive third set vs. Kopinski. However, the Palos Hills, Ill., native held serve to force a tiebreak where Goldhoff rattled off four of the first five points. Unfazed, Kopinski dug deep and claimed six straight points of his own to take the tiebreak and the match.
Illinois' three wins marked the first time since the 2011 season that the squad upset three straight teams ranked in the top-20. In addition, the Illini handed all three teams their first respective losses of the season.
Up next, the Illini compete in the National Indoor Championships in Houston, Texas. The sweet-16 of indoor team tennis will commence Friday, Feb. 14.