#16 Illini Win First-Round Match over Western Michigan, 4-0
URBANA, Ill. - The 16th-ranked University of Illinois men's tennis team (18-7) cruised to a 4-0 win over Western Michigan (17-12) Friday evening at Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where it will battle No. 17 Auburn tomorrow at 2 p.m. The Illini captured the doubles point and three singles matches en route to their fifth shutout of the season.
"I thought we came out a lot better in singles today than we did in doubles," Illini head coach Brad Dancer said. "I thought our doubles play was spotty at best. We just didn't do some of the things we talk about in practice. I was a little frustrated with doubles, but in singles, guys were locked in and right where I wanted them to be. I was really pleased with singles."
The Orange and Blue took an early 1-0 lead on the doubles courts, winning at Nos. 2 and 3. Freshman pairing Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski led off with an 8-5 win over Pablo Olivarez and Aaron Wong, while junior Stephen Hoh and freshman Farris Gosea secured the doubles point with an 8-6 decision over Ross VanderPloeg and Simon Blomberg.
Illinois never looked back, taking three quick singles matches in straight sets. No. 7 Dennis Nevolo downed Nadin Indre, 6-2, 6-3 on court one for his team-leading 29th win of the year, matching his career-high single-season win total. Guignon followed with a convincing 6-0, 6-2 win over Wong at the No. 6 spot, while Kopinski ended the day with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over VanderPloeg at No. 4, marking the sixth consecutive win for the Illini newcomer.
"We're just going to go out and work on the things that we need to work on and come out a little bit sharper tomorrow," Dancer said. "That's how you get better, and fortunately, tournament play allows us to do that. I think that's why we've performed well in tournament play over the years."
The Orange and Blue will face Auburn tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT at Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex for a chance at their 12th Sweet 16 appearance over the past 14 years.
1. #7 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Nadin Indre (WMU) 6-2, 6-3
2. #31 Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) vs. Zeyad Montasser (WMU) 6-3, 3-2, unfinished
3. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) vs. Pablo Olivarez (WMU) 6-2, 4-2, unfinished
4. Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Ross VanderPloeg (WMU) 6-2, 6-3
5. Stephen Hoh (ILL) vs. Simon Blomberg (WMU) 6-2, 4-1, unfinished
6. Ross Guignon (ILL) def. Aaron Wong (WMU) 6-0, 6-2
1. #21 Dennis Nevolo/Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) vs. Nadin Indre/Zeyad Montasser (WMU), unfinished
2. Tim Kopinski/Ross Guignon (ILL) def. Pablo Olivarez/Aaron Wong (WMU) 8-5
3. Farris Gosea/Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Ross VanderPloeg/Simon Blomberg (WMU) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,6,4)