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    Illini Prepare for Second Weekend of Action
    Ryan Rowe

    Ryan Rowe

    Sept. 21, 2006

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. ­- The Illinois men's tennis team gears up for their second week of competition, as juniors Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe head to the Tulsa Challenger in Tulsa, Okla., while junior Brandon Davis and sophomore Marc Spicijaric prepare for the Cincinnati Collegiate Invitational in Mason, Ohio. Anderson and Rowe look to take on top-notch competition at the USTA event, each competing in the qualifying tournament of the event, while Davis and Spicijaric will travel to Ohio for their second tournament of the 2006 season.

    The Tulsa Challenger is set to run Sept. 23 through Oct. 1 at the Philcrest Hills Tennis Club, while the Cincinnati Tournament kicks off on Friday, Sept. 22 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 24 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. For complete tournament information and results for the Tulsa Challenger and the Cincinnati Collegiate Invitational, visit Results for the challenger can also be found at .

    Kevin Anderson, who competed in multiple hard court USTA events this past summer, and Ryan Rowe will both use the open fall schedule as a chance to face professional competition at the Tulsa Challenger. On the young season, the preseason 17th-ranked Anderson is 3-0 and already has a win over a top-10 opponent in No. 8 Erling Tveit of Mississippi at the Napa Valley Tennis Classic. For Anderson's efforts at the Napa Valley Invitational, the junior earned Most Valuable Player honors. Rowe, ranked No. 48, owns a 2-1 tilt on the season, dropping his lone loss to No. 118 Robbye Poole of Ole Miss in his final match at the Napa Valley Classic. Both Illini will open play in the qualifying tournament of the Tulsa Challenger on Saturday, Sept. 23. At time of release, the qualifying bracket had not been set.

    The event pits a field of 32 men in the singles main draw and 16 teams in the doubles draw. Qualifying for the event begins on Sept. 23, with the main draw opening play on Monday, Sept. 25.

    Marc Spicijaric and Brandon Davis are looking for their first wins of the 2006 campaign as they head to the Cincinnati Invite, scheduled to open play Sept. 22-24 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Spicijaric, who went 0-3 at the Napa Valley Classic, should not be judged by his record alone as he took eighth-ranked Erling Tveit to a decisive set in which the Ole Miss opponent stole the time-shortened match 6-7(7), 7-6(4), 1-0(10-3). Davis, 0-2, dropped back-to-back three set marathons in his first two outings of the season, jumping out to one-set leads in both contests.

    2005-06 REVIEW
    The Fighting Illini finished the 2005-06 season ranked ninth in the final Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, making them one of only two Big Ten teams to finish in the top 10 (Ohio State, fifth). Illinois also finished second in the Big Ten regular season (9-1) and in the Big Ten Tournament (2-1), behind conference and tournament-champion Ohio State.

    The tandem of Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe captured the 2006 NCAA doubles championship, entering the event as the fourth seed. Having lost only one match heading into the competition, the two posted wins over the No. 16, No. 20, No. 29 and the No. 27 seeds to punch their ticket into the finals. The two made their way to the championship match having dropped only two sets in the process. With the momentum, Anderson/Rowe cruised through the match, losing a combined six points to defeat No. 3-seeded Andre Begemann and Scott Doerner of Pepperdine 6-2, 6-4. With the win, the two became only the third doubles team in Illinois history to win the crown.

    Junior Kevin Anderson finished the Napa Valley Tennis Classic 3-0 en route to his Most Valuable Player honor. The three-day event, and the Illinois men's tennis team's opening tournament of the year, gave head coach Brad Dancer a good look at what he can expect this season as his Illini finished 4-1 in doubles action.

    No. 17 Anderson polished off a perfect weekend at the classic, handling California's Pierre Mouillon 6-2, 6-2 . Junior No. 48 Ryan Rowe carded a 2-1 record after falling in his final match of the tournament to Mississippi's No. 118 Robbye Poole 6-4, 0-6, 6-1.

    In all, Illinois went 7-6 in singles, with both Anderson and freshman Billy Heiser (2-0) finishing the weekend unbeaten. Rowe went 2-1, while both sophomore Marc Spicijaric (0-3) and junior Brandon Davis (0-2) left empty handed. In doubles action, Davis/Rowe and Anderson/Spicijaric both posted 2-0 records, while Heiser/Davis came away with a 0-1 record.

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