ORLANDO, March 23, 2019 (Press Release)
Playing against UCF for the first time in program history, the No. 13 Illini men’s tennis team recorded their first win over the knights, 4-2 on Friday afternoon at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. Illinois is now 1-0 in the overall series and 8-6 on the season.
“Great team effort today,” said head coach Brad Dancer. “Our guys stayed more constant in doubles and had a number of chances to get that point. In singles, we dug another hole for ourselves, but got really gritty. Our guys stayed so tough.”
The UCF Knights came out strong with a 6-2 win on court two against first time duo, Keenan Mayo and Zeke Clark. Making their doubles debut together, redshirt sophomore Gui Gomes and sophomore Caleb Chakravarthi were victorious on court three against UCF’s Manoel Alencar and Mikhail Sokolovskiy, 6-3. Deciding the doubles point on court one, the UCF Knights were able to clinch the tiebreaker over junior Aleks Kovacevic and sophomore Alex Brown, 7-6 (4).
Back in the lineup, junior Noe Khlif picked up the first point for the Illini with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against UCF’s Mikhail Sokolovskiy. Freshman Keenan Mayo tied up the match and snapped a five-game losing streak to win over Juan Pablo Mazzuchi, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3. Junior Aleks Kovacevic is now a perfect 10-0 in singles play after defeating No. 38 Gabriel Decamps 7-6 (5), 6-3. Brown came back strong after Florida to clinch the match for the Illini. After dropping the second set, the Urbandale, Iowa native came back strong to win 7-6 (7-4), 0-6, 6-4 over UCF’s Alan Rubio.
“Keenan battling back helped turn the momentum,” noted Dancer. “Great focus by Noe (Khlif) and Aleks (Kovacevic), along with Alex (Brown) and Zeke (Clark), who both stayed super composed.”
FINAL: No. 13 Illinois battle back in singles play to win over the UCF Knights!
— Illinois M Tennis (@IlliniMTennis) 22. März 2019
The No. 13 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team continues Big Ten play close to home in West Lafayette, Ind. against Purdue on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. CT. Dating back to May 13, 1905, Purdue was the Illini’s first dual match opponent (on record). Last season, Illinois earned the program’s 100th victory with a 5-2 win against the Boilermakers inside Atkins Tennis Center. The Illini are now 100-11-1 all-time versus Purdue.
“Lastly, all spring break we’ve had tremendous support from families, fans, and alumni,” said Dancer. “This team appreciates all the people behind them every step of the way.”
- Competing against UCF for the first time in program history, the Illini picked up their first win over the Knights.
- Junior Aleks Kovacevic picked up back-to-back wins over ranked opponents in Florida. The New York native holds a 10-0 record in singles play.
- In their first outing as a doubles pair, redshirt sophomore Gui Gomes and sophomore Caleb Chakravarthi won over UCF’s Manoel Alencar and Mikhail Sokolovskiy, 6-3.
- Freshman Keenan Mayo snapped a five-game losing streak to win over Juan Pablo Mazzuchi, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.
- Junior Noe Khlif picked up the Illini’s first point of the match with a 6-3, 6-3 win against UCF’s Mikhail Sokolovskiy. His singles record is now 4-1 overall this season.
#13 Illinois 4, UCF 2
Singles competition: Order of Finish (6,4,5,1,2)
1. #14 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. #38 Gabriel Decamps (UCF) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
2. #31 Alex Brown (UI) def. Alan Rubio (UCF) 7-6 (7-4), 0-6, 6-4
3. Bogdan Pavel (UCF) vs. Zeke Clark (UI) 3-6, 6-4, 5-5, unfinished
4. Trey Hilderbrand (UCF) def. Siphosothando Montsi (UI) 6-4, 6-4
5. Keenan Mayo (UI) def. Juan Pablo Mazzuchi (UCF) 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 6
. Noe Khlif (UI) def. Mikhail Sokolovskiy (UCF) 6-3, 6-3
Doubles competition: Order of finish (2,3,1)
1. #54 Trey Hilderbrand/Bogdan Pavel (UCF) def. Alex Brown/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) 7-6 (7-4)
2. Juan Pablo Mazzuchi/Gabriel Decamps (UCF) def. Zeke Clark/Keenan Mayo (UI) 6-2
3. Gui Gomes/Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) def. Manoel Alencar/Mikhail Sokolovskiy (UCF) 6-3
Illinois 8-6; National ranking #13