Kopinski, Gosea Reach Doubles Final at Midwest Regional
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Fighting Illini sophomores Tim Kopinski and Farris Gosea advanced to the doubles championship match of the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional on Sunday at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility. Kopinski won in singles as well, reaching the semifinal round along with freshman Jared Hiltzik.
"The highlight of the day was Kopinski and Farris and the purpose that they demonstrated during doubles," head coach Brad Dancer said. "They're very clear with what they're doing, and they're not going away from that, which is what we talk about all the time. I'm very pleased with their effort today."
In doubles play, eighth-seeded Kopinski and Gosea edged Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka of Ohio State in a 9-7 thriller before cruising to an 8-1 victory over Nadin Indre and Ross VanderPloeg of Western Michigan to earn their spot in Monday morning's final. There, the pair will square off with fifth-seeded duo Spencer Talmadge and Greg Andrews of Notre Dame for the chance to compete in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
In singles, eighth-seeded Kopinski took down Illini newcomer Brian Page in a 6-1, 6-3 decision to advance to the semifinals. The Palos Hills, Ill., native is the only player remaining in both singles and doubles play at this point in the tournament.
"Kopinski did a good job of setting the tone early in the match," Dancer said. "Page played a little bit of catch up but couldn't come back."
Meanwhile, freshman Jared Hiltzik, who is seeded 13th, knocked off 15th-seeded Constantin Christ of Ohio State, 6-4, 6-4. With the win, the Wilmette, Ill., native joins Kopinski in the semifinals, giving Illinois two of the remaining four competitors in singles play.
"Jared played a tricky match," Dancer said. "Constantin is a similar player to Jared. A lot of it came down to Jared serving better."
Senior Stephen Hoh came up short in a 6-4, 7-6 loss to Ohio State's Peter Kobelt, who is ranked 35th in the nation and seeded second in the regional.
"I give Kobelt a lot of credit," Dancer said. "He was really in control most of the day. Hoh did not transition very well today, and that was a little bit of a cause for concern."
Doubles and singles champions will earn automatic bids to the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, which will take place Nov. 8-11 at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
Kopinski and Gosea will play in the doubles final tomorrow morning, followed by the final two rounds of singles action.
Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Brian Page (ILL) 6-1, 6-3
Jared Hiltzik (ILL) def. Constantin Christ (OSU) 6-4, 6-4
#35 Peter Kobelt (OSU) def. Stephen Hoh (ILL) 6-4, 7-6
Quarterfinals: Tim Kopinski/Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Peter Kobelt/Kevin Metka (OSU) 9-7
Semifinals: Tim Kopinski/Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Nadin Indre/Ross VanderPloeg (WMU) 8-1