Illinois Records Narrow 4-3 Victory Over Tulane At ITA National Indoor Championships

Aleks Kovacevic (photo: Fighting Illini)

CHICAGO, February 18, 2019 (Press Release)

The No. 14 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team defeated No. 19 Tulane, 4-3, on Sunday night to complete play at the 2019 ITA National Indoor Championships in Chicago, Ill. The last time the Illini met the Green Waves was 17 years ago at the Blue-Gray Classic, where Illinois won 4-0. Illinois currently leads the series with Tulane, 4-2.

“Really exciting to pull through this match,” said head coach Brad Dancer. “Coaches talk about a team effort and this was exactly that all the way. Needless to say, Aleks (Kovacevic) led the charge all week in Chicago and we saw the emergence of Siphosothando (Montsi).”

The Illini clinched the doubles point for the fourth-time this season on Sunday night. Sophomore duo Alex Brown and Caleb Chakravarthi topped Ewan Moore and Akos Kotoman, 6-3 on court six. Junior Vuk Budic and redshirt sophomore Gui Gomes clinched the point on court eight with a 7-5 win over Hamish Stewart and Tim Ruetzel.

Junior Aleks Kovacevic won the first singles point of the evening, defeating Luis Erlenbusch, 6-2, 6-3. Kovacevic has a 7-0 dual match singles record with wins over four ranked opponents in 2019. Tulane took the 3-2 lead with wins on courts 3, 7, and 8. Freshman Siphosothando Montsi defeated Felix Ewers, 6-4, 6-3, with the score three all. After winning the first set tiebreaker, 7-6(0), Brown battled back to clinch the victory for the Illini in the third set, 6-3.

“For the final match, I could not be happier for Alex (Brown),” noted Dancer. “He played so strong down the stretch.” 

Up next, the Illini have a break until March when Illinois continues their road swing in Texas on Friday, March 1 and Sunday, March 3. Illinois will take on No. 9 Baylor on March 1 at 6 p.m. CT and then No. 15 TCU on March 3 at 12 p.m. CT.

“It is the midpoint in the season, and we need to regroup,” said Dancer. “We have a challenging road trip coming up against some great teams.”

The Illini return to Waco, Texas for the first time since a 4-2 win on March 18, 2016. The Orange and Blue lead the overall series, 7-5. Illinois blanked the TCU Horned Frogs in the Round of 16 at the NCAA Championships last year. Illinois is looking to close in on the overall series with TCU leading, 8-5.

Illini Notes

  • The last time the Illini played Tulane was in 2002 under former head coach Craig Tiley at the Blue-Gray Classic, blanking the Green Waves, 4-0.
  • Leads the winning streak over the Green Waves, 3-0, and the overall series, 4-2.
  • Tulane is the sixth ITA-ranked opponent the Illini have faced this season.
  • Junior Aleks Kovacevic has a 7-0 dual match singles record with wins over four ranked opponents in 2019.
  • Freshman Siphosothando Montsi made his mark in Chicago, going undefeated in singles play, 3-0 vs. UCLA and during the ITA National Indoor Championships.


Singles competition: Order of Finish (1,3,4,5,6,2)

1. #24 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. #42 Luis Erlenbusch (TLN) 6-2, 6-3

2. #23 Alex Brown (UI) def. #63 Ewan Moore (TLN) 7-6 (7-0), 2-6, 6-3

3. Hamish Stewart (TLN) def. #30 Zeke Clark (UI) 6-2, 6-4
4. Dane Esses (TLN) def. #125 Keenan Mayo (UI) 6-3, 6-4
5. #76 Tyler Schick (TLN) def. #116 Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) 6-1, 7-5

6. Siphosothando Montsi (UI) def. Felix Ewers (TLN) 6-4, 6-3

Doubles competition: Order of finish (2,1,3)

1. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) def. Ewan Moore/Akos Kotorman (TLN) 6-3

2. Luis Erlenbusch/Tyler Schick (TLN) def. Keenan Mayo/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) 6-2

3. Vuk Budic/Gui Gomes (UI) def. Hamish Stewart/Tim Ruetzel (TLN) 7-5

Illinois 5-3; National ranking #14

Tulane 4-6; National ranking #19