No. 15 Illinois Sweep The Wildcats For First Big Ten Victory

Fighting Illini Tennis (photo: twitter)

URBANA, March 9, 2019 (Press Release)

The No. 15 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team opened Big Ten play with a sweep of the Northwestern Wildcats on Friday night at Atkins Tennis Center. Illinois extends its winning streak to four matches and improves to 10-4 overall this season. The Illini continues to dominate the overall series against the Wildcats, 68-38-2.

“It is always great to earn a conference win, especially coming after a tough road trip to Texas,” said head coach Brad Dancer. “It was a difficult week for us, we had to swallow our pride a little bit.”

In doubles play, sophomore duo Alex Brown and Caleb Chakravarthi battled tough to win the first match of the night, defeating No. 32 Simon Bratholm and Nick Brookes, 6-4. En route to clinching the doubles point, junior Vuk Budic and redshirt sophomore Gui Gomes won the tiebreaker, 7-1, against Trice Pickens and Antonioni Fasano.

“We were really tough and resilient in doubles tonight,” noted Dancer.

Going undefeated tonight, Brown picked up the first singles point with a dominating 6-4, 6-3 win over Nick Brooks. Freshman Siphosothando Montsi moved up to the No. 4 position, winning straight sets against Chris Ephron, 6-3, 6-1. The victory was clinched by Frenchman, Noe Khlif, who found himself back in the singles lineup today. On court No. 6, Khlif defeated Trice Pickens 6-4, 6-4.

“In singles, guys put up some early leads on the board, but did not stay focus throughout to finish the way we need to,” said Dancer. “We have to improve and grow in that area in order to develop a killer instinct.“

Illinois returns to Atkins Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon at Noon CT for another Big Ten opponent, the Indiana Hoosiers. The Breakfast at Atkins theme will allow fans to enjoy some breakfast on the court. The Illini Net Nuts will be hosting a student pickle ball tournament at the conclusion of the match, in which the winning team will win a $100 Joe’s gift card.

Illinois Notes

  • Junior Vuk Budic and redshirt sophomore Gui Gomes clinched the doubles point with a 7-6(1) victory over Trice Pickens and Antonioni Fasano.
  • Illinois is now 13-1 in Big Ten openers under head coach Brad Dancer.
  • The Illini continue to dominate the series over the Wildcats, 68-38-2.
  • Junior Noe Khlif returned to the singles lineup to clinch the match against Trice Pickens 6-4, 6-4. In his first clincher of the season, Khlif has a 3-1 singles record during dual match season. 


#15 Illinois 4, #45 Northwestern 0  

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

1. #14 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) vs. Dominik Stary (NU) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0, unfinished

2. #33 Alex Brown (UI) def. Nick Brookes (NU) 6-4, 6-3
3. #113 Zeke Clark (UI) vs. Antonioni Fasano (NU) 6-2, 6-6, unfinished
4. Siphosothando Montsi (UI) def. Chris Ephron (NU) 6-3, 6-1

5. Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) vs. Simen Bratholm (NU) 6-7 (4-7), 3-4, unfinished

6. Noe Khlif (UI) def. Trice Pickens (NU) 6-4, 6-4

Doubles competition: Order of finish (1,3)

1. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) def. #32 Simen Bratholm/Nick Brookes (NU) 6-4
2. Keenan Mayo/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) vs. Chris Ephron/Dominik Stary (NU) 6-6, unfinished

3. Vuk Budic/Gui Gomes (UI) def. Trice Pickens/Antonioni Fasano (NU) 7-6 (7-1)

Illinois 6-5; National ranking #15

Northwestern: 9-8; National ranking #45