Illinois now prepares for its final tournament of the fall season at the Harvard Invitional. (Pictured: Sophomore Megan Fudge)
Oct. 20, 2007
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Illinois women's tennis team concluded a successful stint at the 2007 Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regionals being hosted on the campus of the University of Michigan at the Varsity Tennis Courts Oct. 18-23. Overall, two Illini advanced out of singles qualifying, a total of three netters moved past the first round in the singles main draw, while the duo of sophomores Megan Fudge and Leigh Finnegan advanced into the second round of the doubles main draw.
"Although I don't think our team as a whole is anywhere near satisfied with our finish at Regionals, we are headed in the right direction," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "We just need to continue to work hard to put ourselves in the best position possible come this spring."
After an impressive run through qualifying singles, both sophomore Kristina Minor and freshman Marisa Lambropoulos earned berths into the main draw with wins on Friday night. Minor's victory included a defeat of Tanyaradzwa Gombera of Akron, 6-1, 6-1, to advance into the main draw, while Lambropoulos took care of Kirsten Gambrell of DePaul, 7-5. 6-4.
"Both Kristina and Marisa played some solid tennis to secure their spots in the main draw," Dasso said. "From there, it was important for them to take away the confidence and match experience from their past three rounds, but also wipe the slate clean and start over in the main draw."
In the main draw, Fudge, Lambropoulos and Qu all scored first-round victories. Ninth-seeded Fudge - also ranked 120th nationally - notched her win against Elizabeth Carpenter of Wisconsin in a three-set battle, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, while Lambropoulos picked up where she left off, dismissing Rachael Hush of Marquette (6-2, 6-3). Qu rounded out the Illini advancing as she downed Ally Mueller of Ohio State, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
However, the Illini advancements would end in the second round, as all three Orange and Blue netters were halted by their round of 32 opponents to end their Midwest Regional singles run.
"Megan came through in a tough first round three-set match but was stopped short of her ultimate goal of winning the tournament by an exceptional performance by a Northwestern opponent," Dasso said. "Lambropoulos won her first-round match handily but fell to a tough opponent in the second round. For a freshman to come in and compose herself and come through the way she did in qualifying and make it to the second round of the main draw was quite impressive. Minor also proved herself this tournament. Although she lost her opening main draw match, the ball was in her court. One or two points here or there and the outcome would have been different."
In the doubles bracket, the duo of Fudge and Finnegan strung together a well-played first-round contest, prevailing 8-0 over Aditi Krishnan and Joanna Woo of Eastern Michigan, while Lambropoulos and partner freshman Annie McCarthy defeated Kelly Drvaric and Kari Kastenholz of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 8-2. Yet, the second round would be the stopping point for the Illini tandems as well, as No. 5-seeded Finnegan and Fudge dropped a hard-fought battle to a feisty Western Michigan pair of Kerstin Paul and Noriko Saruta, 8-3, while Lambropoulos/McCarthy ran into the second-seeded Wildcat pair from Northwestern, Lauren Lui and Georgia Rose, falling 8-1.
"Megan and Leigh and Marisa and Annie's second round opponents both played very good doubles and I think it was a humbling experience for our girls," Dasso said. "At the same time I think it was a great lesson because it reminded the girls how important mastering the fundamentals, court positioning and communication is if they want to be successful doubles players."
With the conclusion of the 2007 ITA Midwest Regional Championships, the Illini now begin to prepare for the Harvard Invitational Nov. 2-4 in Boston, Mass. The event marks the Illini's final tournament before the beginning of dual play against Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla., on Jan. 12.
ILLINOIS ITA MIDWEST REGIONAL RESULTS
First Round - Qualifying Singles
Véronique Parke Bédard (ISU) def. Annie McCarthy (ILL) - 7-6(3), 6-3
Kristina Minor (ILL) def. Kelly Stadum (UW-GB) - 6-2, 6-3
No. 1 seed Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) def. Maha Guirguis (TOL) - 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
Sandra Wikstrom (EMU) def. Leigh Finnegan (ILL) - 3-4 ret.
Ilinca Cristescu (UIC) def. Candy Graetz (ILL) - 6-3, 6-1
Round of 64 - Main Draw
Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) def. Rachael Hush (MAR) - 6-2, 6-3
No. 9 seed Megan Fudge (ILL) def. Elizabeth Carpenter (WIS) - 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
Momei Qu (ILL) def. Ally Mueller (OSU) - 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Tijana Koprivica (MINN) def. Kristina Minor (ILL) - 7-5, 6-4
Nazlie Ghazal (NW) def. Shivani Davé (ILL) - 6-1, 6-0
Round of 32 - Main Draw
Dunja Antunovic (DEP) def. Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) - 6-1, 6-4
Suzie Matzenauer (NW) def. No. 9 seed Megan Fudge (ILL) - 6-0, 6-3
Brook Buck (ND) def. Momei Qu (ILL) - 6-2, 6-2
Round of 64 - Main
No. 5 seed Megan Fudge/Leigh Finnegan (ILL) def. Aditi Krishnan/Joanna Woo (EMU) - 8-0
Marisa Lambropoulos/Annie McCarthy (ILL) def. Kelly Drvaric/Kari Kastenholz (UW-M) - 8-2
Julie Blackmore/Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Candy Graetz/Kristina Minor (ILL) - 8-4
Consolation - Main
Kelcie Klockenga/Jessica Young (Iowa) d. Candy Graetz/Kristina Minor (Illinois), 8-5
Round of 32 - Main
Kerstin Paul/Noriko Saruta (WMU) def. No. 5 seed Megan Fudge/Leigh Finnegan (ILL) - 8-3
No. 2 seed Lauren Lui/Georgia Rose (NW) def. Marisa Lambropoulos/Annie McCarthy (ILL) - 8-1