ORLANDO, May 25, 2019 (Press Release)
Fighting Illini men’s tennis junior Aleks Kovacevic saw an incredible season come to an end during the NCAA Singles Semifinals on Friday evening at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
“It was a great run for Kova, especially considering this was his first NCAA singled tournament,” said head coach Brad Dancer. “He handled the moments well and grew through the week. We talked after about what a tremendous season he put together.”
No. 4 seed and fifth-ranked Paul Jubb topped No. 7 seed and 10th-ranked Kovacevic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Kovacevic came out on fire having a 4-1 lead at one point in the first set. The First-Team All-Big Ten honoree won the first set, 6-4. The momentum shifted as Jubb came back to take the second set, 6-4, forcing a final set and closing out the match.
— NCAA Tennis (@NCAATennis) 24. Mai 2019
Kovacevic concludes his impressive junior season with a 24-4 record in singles play since the beginning of spring season and 34-7 overall. The New York native also recorded 14 ranked victories in singles play, including a top 10 win over Texas’ Christian Sigsgaard during the first day of ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Chicago on Feb. 15. He was named an All-American in singles play and earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors for the first time in his career. Kovacevic was also a two-time Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week (Jan. 22 and March 26) this season.
The No. 7 seed’s 34 victories puts him 14th overall in program history for the most singles wins in a season with former Illini All-American Brian Wilson. He also matches the program’s 17th best longest singles winning streak with 14 matches.
Kovacevic concluded the season as the third Illini in program history to reach the semifinals at the NCAA Singles Championships and first since Illinois Athletics Hall of Famer, Kevin Anderson, in 2007.
“Knowing Kova this is not something to rest on, but rather use as a spark to keep growing,” noted Dancer. “I am looking forward to a great summer with Kova and the rest of the crew.”
Singles Main Draw
No. 10 (7th seed) Aleks Kovacevic
Round of 64 (May 20) – def. No. 96 Guanarteme Nuez (UT-Arlington), 6-3, 6-3
Round of 32 (May 21) – def. No. 65 Ewan Moore (Tulane), 6-3, 7-5
Round of 16 (May 22) – def. No. 50 Bar Botzer (Wake Forest), Walkover
Quarterfinals (May 23) – def. No. 54 Sam Riffice (Florida), 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-3
Semifinals (May 24) – fell to No. 5 (4th seed) Paul Jubb (South Carolina), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6