URBANA, April 15, 2019 (Press Release)
The No. 14 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team fell to the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at the Atkins Tennis Center. Illinois moves to 14-7 overall this season and 8-1 in Big Ten play.
“Hats off to Ohio State, they deserved the win,” said head coach Brad Dancer. “They came in here and beat us in a tough environment.”
After taking the doubles point, No. 2 Ohio State earned the first singles point on court four, taking a 2-0 lead. Gaining momentum in singles play, the Orange and Blue tied up the match with wins on courts three and six. On a four-game winning streak, junior Vuk Budic put the Illini on the board with a 6-2, 6-2 win over James Trotter on court six. Junior Zeke Clark then topped Martin Joyce, 6-2-62, on court three. In two tiebreaker, No. 1 JJ Wolf defeated No. 6 Aleks Kovacevic, 7-6(3), 7-6(4) on court one. No. 28 John McNally sealed the match for the Buckeyes with a 7-6(5), 7-6(4) victory over sophomore Alex Brown on court two.
“We just want to thank the fans and Illini nation,” said associate head coach Marcos Asse. “Atkins continues to be the most special place in the country to play. We have a few small little things to work on, but those little things are what makes all the difference in the world.”
The No. 14 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team are on the road for the regular season finale. Illinois will travel to the North Star state to face the Minnesota Gophers. Last season, the Orange and Blue easily won against the Gophers, 6-1, on Senior Day. The Illini leads the overall series, 42-33.
The Orange and Blue will conclude the regular season in Wisconsin against the Badgers. Dating back to 2011, the Illini are on an eight-match winning streak against the Badgers. Last season, the Illini came back in singles play to win the match, 5-2. Kovacevic clinched the match for Illinois with a gritty, 6-4, 7-5 win on court four. The Orange and Blue lead the overall series, 59-29.
#2 Ohio State 4, #14 Illinois 2
Singles competition: Order of finish (4,6,3,1,2)
1. #1 JJ Wolf (OSU) def. #6 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4)
2. #28 John McNally (OSU) def. #48 Alex Brown (UI) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4)
3. Zeke Clark (UI) def. Martin Joyce (OSU) 6-2, 6-2
4. #54 Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Keenan Mayo (UI) 6-1, 6-1
5. Siphosothando Montsi (UI) vs. Alex Kobelt (OSU) 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 0-1, unfinished
6. Vuk Budic (UI) def. James Trotter (OSU) 6-2, 6-2
Doubles competition: Order of finish (3,2)
1. Alex Brown/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) vs. #30 Martin Joyce/JJ Wolf (OSU) 5-5, unfinished
2. #20 Alex Kobelt/Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Gui Gomes/Vuk Budic (UI) 6-4
3. John McNally/Hunter Tubert (OSU) def. Noe Khlif/Zeke Clark (UI) 6-1
Ohio State 23-2; National ranking #2
Illinois 14-7; National ranking #14