Illini Wrap Up Season-Opening Weekend
Sept. 29, 2013
West Point Invite: Results (PDF)
All-American Championships: Pre-Qualifying Results (PDF)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's tennis team wrapped up its season-opening weekend on both coasts on Sunday. Freshman Alexis Casati started her Illini career off with a bang, winning the No. 1 Singles bracket at the West Point Invitational.
Casati cruised through the tournament without losing a set. The No. 1 seed in her bracket, Casati opened with a bye and then downed Sanne Louwers (Long Island) 6-2, 6-3 and Slveya Paricha (FDU) 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semifinal. Casati cruised by Jamila Paul (Army) 6-2, 6-0 to reach the final. In the final, Casati picked up another straight-sets victory, this time a 6-2, 6-2 win over Hannah Liljkevist (Seton Hall).
"I was incredibly impressed with Alexis' composure and point construction in her collegiate debut for the Illini," head coach Michelle Dasso, who was in New York for the weekend, said. "She broke down her opponents and played with hustle and determination."
In other singles action at the West Point Invite, Audrey O'Connor advanced to the quarterfinals of the No. 1 singles bracket. In the No. 2 singles bracket, Julia Jamieson also advanced to the quarterfinals, and Emily Barretta won two matches to reach the semifinals. In doubles, Casati and O'Connor were upset in their first match, while Barretta and Jamieson won two matches to reach the semifinal before falling.
"Our doubles needs a lot of attention," Dasso said. "It was not close to our standard. Emily had a good showing this weekend, as well, which is a testament to how much work and tournament play she put in this summer."
In Los Angeles at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, Melissa Kopinski beat UCLA's Courtney Dolehide in her opening pre-qualifying match before losing 6-3, 6-3 to Lily Kimbell (Georgia) in her second match.
"Melissa played two quality opponents yesterday," assistant coach Ric Mortera, who is on the west coast with Kopinski and Allison Falkin, said. "Obviously, we would have liked for the result of the second match to have been different, but she is showing signs of improvement in many of the areas that we have been working on, which is what is most important right now."
Kopinski is not finished at the tournament; she will compete with Falkin in doubles during the qualifying round, which starts on Oct. 1. Falkin will also compete in singles during the qualifying round.
"This tournament is not over yet for Melissa," Mortera said. "We are very much looking forward to getting Allison prepared for her singles match and to get both Allison and Melissa underway in doubles, as well."