URBANA, Ill.— Redbirds Tanja Hrovatic and Hannah Esker each took their singles matchups into three sets, but Illinois State could not come home with a win, falling to No. 36 Illinois, 7-0, Sunday at Atkins Tennis Center. The Redbirds fall to 1-1 overall in dual matches, while the Fighting Illini move to 5-2 overall on the season.
Hrovatic fought back in her singles match to win the second set, and Esker started her match with a win in the first set. However, both Redbirds were bested by Illinois in tiebreaker matches. Ultimately, Hrovatic fell to Illinois’ Kristina Minor, 6-1, 6-7, 1-0 (14-12), in Flight 4 singles. Redbird teammate Esker fell to Illinois’ Annie McCarthy, 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-5), in Flight 6.
In the Flight 1 singles matchup, No. 89 Leigh Finnegan of Illinois defeated Illinois State’s Natalia Lech, 6-1, 6-0. Julia Zubkova, Franziska Steinhardt and Carmen Peters were also defeated in singles play, making the way for an Illinois sweep. Zubkova fell to Illinois’ Megan Fudge, 6-0, 6-3, in Flight 2 singles. Amy Allin of Illinois bested Steinhardt, 6-2, 6-3, in Flight 3 singles, and in Flight 5 singles, Peters fell to Shivani Dave in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
The Illinois winning streak continued into the doubles play. Illinois State fell to Illinois at all three doubles position. In Flight 1, Zubkova and Steinhardt fell to Illinois’ Finnegan and Fudge, 8-2, while the Redbird duo of Hrovatic and Lech lost as well to Illinois’ McCarthy and Allin, 8-4, in the Flight 2 doubles position. Illinois’ Dave and Minor bested the Redbird pairing of Peters and Esker, 8-3, in Flight 3.
“We had a couple of chances to pull out an individual match win,” said head coach Chris Hoover. “However, the scores do not really reflect how tough the matches were and how hard the team played. Overall, I was pleased in the way the team fought against a ranked opponent. I just wish the results would have been better in our favor. There is something to learn from in each match, and this one is no different.”
Next, the Redbirds head to Wisconsin where they will face Wisconsin-Milwaukee Saturday Feb. 14, 2009, and Marquette Sunday Feb. 15, 2009.