URBANA, March 11, 2019 (Press Release)
The No. 15 Illini men’s tennis team extends their winning streak to eight over the Hoosiers on Sunday afternoon at Atkins Tennis Center. Illinois defeated Indiana 6-1 to extend the overall series, 48-44. The Orange and Blue go undefeated in Big Ten play (2-0), while maintaining a 7-5 overall record on the season.
“Indiana has a good team and they fought and tested us today,” said head coach Brad Dancer.
Illinois had the advantage early 1-0, picking up the doubles point. Junior duo Aleks Kovacevic and freshman Keenan Mayo started the match with a 6-3 victory over Zac Brodney and Bennett Crane. For the third time this season, junior Vuk Budic and redshirt sophomore Gui Gomes clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 victory over Antonio Cembellin and Patrick Fletchall.
Giving a spark to the singles lineup, junior Noe Khlif was the first one off the court with a 6-2, 6-1 win at the No. 6 position. This gave the French native his fourth singles win of the season. In straight sets, sophomore Caleb Chakravarthi produced a 6-4, 7-5 victory overAndrew Redding. At the No. 1 position, junior Aleks Kovacevic clinched his second match of the season with straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 win against Antonio Cembellin.
After the 4-0, both teams continued play until the last match. Sophomore Alex Brown won a second set tiebreaker, 7-6(3), to defeat Bennett Crane, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). Extending the Illini win to 6-1, junior Zeke Clark battled back to sweep the second set, 6-0, and win the third set tiebreaker, 10-7.
“On the weekend, it’s great to start Big Ten play with two victories,” noted Dancer. “The third-year guys – Zeke (Clark), Aleks (Kovacevic), Gui (Gomes), Vuk (Budic), and Noe (Khlif) – did a great job leading all weekend.”
The No. 15 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team closes its non-conference slate against two ranked teams in the Sunshine State.
Illinois completed their #B1G weekend sweep with a 6-1 win over the Indiana Hoosiers! 🧹🧹🧹
The 🔶&🔷 recorded their eighth consecutive win over the Hoosiers, extending the overall series to 48-44.
— Illinois M Tennis (@IlliniMTennis) 10. März 2019
Illinois will start its Florida tour in Gainesville against the No. 9 Florida Gators on Wednesday, March 20 at 1 p.m. CT. The Illini make its return to Gator Nation after seven years, leading the overall series, 11-7. Associate head coach Marcos Asse is a former gator that contributed to the 2000 SEC Championship team.
“We already got beat once by Florida this year, so we know that will be a significant challenge, especially at their place,” said Dancer.
For the first time in program history, the Orange and Blue will face UCF in a contest on Friday, March 22 at 11 a.m. CT in Orlando, Fla.
- The Illini earned their eighth consecutive win over the Hoosiers, extending the overall series to 48-44.
- Opening up conference play this weekend, Illinois goes 2-0 in Big Ten play.
- For the third time this season, junior Vuk Budic and redshirt sophomore Gui Gomes clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 victory over Antonio Cembellin and Patrick Fletchall.
- Junior Noe Khlif’s 6-2, 6-1 victory over Vikash Singh gave the French native his fourth singles win of the season. His overall singles record this season is 4-1.
- Junior Aleks Kovacevic clinched his second match of the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Antonio Cembellin.
- Kovacevic remains undefeated in singles play with an 8-0 record.
#15 Illinois 6, Indiana 1,
Singles competition: Order of Finish (6,5,1,2,4,3)
1. #14 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. Antonio Cembellin (IND) 6-4, 6-4
2. #33 Alex Brown (UI) def. Bennett Crane (IND) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
3. #113 Zeke Clark (UI) def. Carson Haskins (IND) 6-7 (7-9), 6-0, 10-7
4. Zac Brodney (IND) def. Siphosothando Montsi (UI) 6-3, 3-6, 10-7
5. Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) def. Andrew Redding (IND) 6-4, 7-5
6. Noe Khlif (UI) def. Vikash Singh (IND) 6-2, 6-1
Doubles competition: Order of finish (2,3)
1. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) vs. Brandon Lam/Carson Haskins (IND) 5-3, unfinished
2. Keenan Mayo/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. Zac Brodney/Bennett Crane (IND) 6-3
3. Vuk Budic/Gui Gomes (UI) def. Antonio Cembellin/Patrick Fletchall (IND) 6-4
Illinois 7-5; National ranking #15