No. 15 Illinois Defeats No. 20 Michigan In A Thriller

Fighting Illinois

ANN ARBOR, April 9, 2019 (Press Release)

The No. 15 Illini men’s tennis battled through to defeat the No. 20 Michigan Wolverines, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Illinois extends the overall series, 43-63-3. The Orange and Blue go undefeated in Big Ten play (7-0), while maintaining a 13-6 overall record on the season.

“Marcos (Asse) and I are really proud of the guys,” said head coach Brad Dancer. It was a super tough match for us. We talked about being tough and defining toughness as staying one point at a time. Michigan is really tough, so they jumped on us early in doubles. Our guys were really resilient, and we were able to come back and take that.”

The Illini battled tough to clinch the doubles point with wins on courts one and two. Redshirt sophomore Gui Gomes and junior Vuk Budic moved up to the No. 2 position to win over Michigan’s Andrew Fenty and Myles Schalet (U-M), 6-4. The Illini duo are now on a five-game winning streak in doubles play, while also going 5-0 in Big Ten play. On court one, Sophomore Alex Brown and junior Aleks Kovacevic clinched the doubles point after defeating Harrison Brown and Mattias Siimar, 6-3. Illinois is on a five-game winning streak in doubles play, while maintaining an undefeated 7-0 record in Big Ten doubles play.

“In singles, we were up and down with neither team establishing momentum,” noted Dancer. “When we did get down in places, Alex (Brown) and Zeke (Clark) battled back and really gave the guys the opportunity to come back in clinching moments.”

Michigan’s Patrick Maloney defeated junior Noe Khlif, 6-3, 6-2, to pick up the first singles point. After winning the second set, Vuk Budic came back strong to defeat Michigan’s Gabe Tishman, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. Kovacevic battled back to win on court one against No. 55 Mattias Siimar, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. The New York native is now 14-0 in singles play, while picking up his fifth conference win. In a close match, the Maize and Blue’s Myles Schalet defeated junior Zeke Clark, 7-5, 7-6 (5). Freshman Keenan Mayo came up big for the Illini, clinching the match with a 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 victory over Connor Johnston.

The No. 15 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team closes their home slate with some big marquee matches next weekend at the Atkins Tennis Center. Next Friday, the Illini face a rising Penn State that sits third in the Big Ten behind No. 1 Ohio State and the Illinois. The Orange and Blue have won the last four matches against the Nittany Lions, including two quarterfinals during the Big Ten Tournament. Illinois leads the overall series 32-5.

Next Sunday, the Illini will have their home finale against the reigning ITA Indoors Champions, No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes. In 2015, the Orange and Blue swept the Buckeyes, 4-0, to win the 2015 Big Ten Tournament in front of the home crowd at Atkins. Despite the Scarlet and Gray’s recent success, the Illini lead the all-time series 60-49-1.


#15 Illinois 4, #20 Michigan 2 

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

1. No. 9 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) d. No. 55 Mattias Siimar (UM), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1

2. No. 98 Andrew Fenty (UM) vs. No. 42 Alex Brown (UI), 4-6, 7-6 (6), 2-1, unfinished

3. Myles Schalet (UM) d. Zeke Clark (UI), 7-5, 7-6 (5)

4. Keenan Mayo (UI) d. Connor Johnston (UM), 6-2, 1-6, 7-5

5. Patrick Maloney (UM) d. Noe Khlif (UI), 6-3, 6-2

6. Vuk Budic (UI) d. Gabe Tishman (UM), 1-6, 6-3, 6-2

Doubles competition: Order of finish (2,1)

1. Alex Brown/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) d. Harrison Brown/Mattias Siimar (UM), 6-3

2. Vuk Budic/Gomes (UI) d. Andrew Fenty/Myles Schalet (UM), 6-3

3. Connor Johnston/Gabe Tishman (UM) vs. Keenan Mayo/Noe Khlif (UI), 5-6, unfinished 

Illinois 13-6; National ranking #15

Michigan 13-6; National ranking #20