Dennis Nevolo upset No. 6 seed Rik De Voest, who was ranked 170th in the world.
Nov. 11, 2013
URBANA, Ill. - It was a successful night for both current and past Illini in day one of the main singles and doubles draw of the JSM Champaign Challenger. Illinois juniors Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon made quick work of their opponents to advance in doubles while 2012 graduate Dennis Nevolo produced the tournament's first upset.
Nevolo drew from the home crowd to defeat No. 6 seed Rik De Voest to capture his first win over a top-200 player. Down 4-2 in the first set, Nevolo rallied with three straight games to go up 5-4 on serve. After failing to capitalize on three set points, Nevolo remained composed and delivered a first set win at 6-4.
In the second set, De Voest jumped out to a 4-1 lead, yet Nevolo would not go away, winning three straight games yet again to tie it a four. With both players holding serve, the set was sent into a tiebreak, where Nevolo pulled ahead and took it 7-2.
"The main thing for me was controlling all of my excitement," said Nevolo. "I was just trying to stay in the present and not get ahead of myself out there. The crowd really helped me out. I felt the nerves at first but I was able to settle in and play well when I needed to."
Fresh off their semifinal run at the ITA Indoor National Championships, Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon delivered a swift straight set victory to advance past Denys Molchanov and Fritz Wolmarans. It took the Illini duo just 48 minutes to secure the 6-3, 6-4 victory.
"We're excited to move on to the next round," Guignon said. "It's always exciting to get a win. We feel like we're playing pretty well right now so a big test for us was just the emotions of handling a professional match. Getting exposure like this though can only help us be even more ready for the spring. We kept everything just enough in check tonight to move on, but we know we're going to have to continue to play well to keep advancing in the draw."
More current and past Illini players will take the stage tomorrow to look to continue the Orange and Blue success. Both Tim Kopinski and Jared Hiltzik will compete in first round action in the main singles draw. No. 3 seed Rajeev Ram will be one of the last matches of the day as he takes on Marcos Giron. Finally, Dennis Nevolo will look to carry momentum into doubles with Farris Gosea in the final round of doubles qualifying. All Illinois matches are scheduled to start no sooner than 5:30 p.m. at Atkins Tennis Center.