MINNEAPOLIS, April 21, 2019 (Press Release)
The No. 15 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team battled back in singles play to defeat the Minnesota Gophers, 5-2, on Saturday afternoon at Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Illinois improves to 15-7 overall this season, including a 9-1 conference record. The Illini still lead the overall series, 43-33.
The Golden Gophers clinched the doubles point with wins in the No. 2 and 3 positions. Illinois responded back with five singles wins. Junior Vuk Budic was the first one off the court with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Eli Ogilvy. Tied at 1-1, the Gophers took the lead after a win on court five. On a three-match winning streak, junior Zeke Clark defeated Marino Alpeza in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
Junior No. 8 Aleks Kovacevic gave the Illini the lead after defeating No. 85 Josip Krstanovic, 7-6 (5), 6-4, on court one. In his first career clincher, Siphosothando Montsi, won the match for the Orange and Blue with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Jackson Allen. No. 54 Alex Brown capped off the match with a three-set victory over Stefan Milicevic, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7), on court two.
Up next, the Illini will conclude the regular season in Madison, Wis. against the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. 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. Aleks Kovacevic clinched the match for Illinois with a gritty, 6-4, 7-5 win on court four. Illinois leads the overall series, 59-29.
#15 Illinois 5, Minnesota 2
Singles competition: Order of finish (6,5,3,1,4,2)
1. #8 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. #85 Josip Krstanovic (MINN) 7-6 (5), 6-4
2. #54 Alex Brown (UI) def. #123 Stefan Milicevic (MINN) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7)
3. Zeke Clark (UI) def. Marino Alpeza (MINN) 6-3, 6-3
4. Siphosothando Montsi (UI) def. Jackson Allen (MINN) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
5. Vlad Lobak (MINN) def. Noe Khlif (UI) 6-3, 6-2
6. Vuk Budic (UI) def. Eli Ogilvy (MINN) 6-1, 6-1
Doubles competition: Order of finish (3,2)
1. Josip Krstanovic/Stefan Milicevic (MINN) vs. #46 Aleks Kovacevic/Alex Brown (UI) 5-5, unfinished
2. Eli Ogilvy/Jackson Allen (MINN) def. Vuk Budic/Gui Gomes (UI) 6-2
3. Vlad Lobak/Marino Alpeza (MINN) def. Noe Khlif/Zeke Clark (UI) 6-3
Illinois 15-7; National ranking #15