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    Illinois Spoils Big Ten Opener, NU Falls 4-1


    Mar. 2, 2014

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 23 Northwestern opened Big Ten competition to a full crowd as the `Cats took on in-state rival No. 7 Illinois. NU played some really good tennis in many toe-to-toe rallies, but the top-ten Illini emerged the victors in the end, 4-1. Freshman Alp Horoz gained his sixth singles win of the season.

    The Illini won a close set of doubles matches to go up 1-0. Play at No. 1 began very evenly as No. 21 Kumar and Smith traded games with No. 4 Kopinski and Guignon. However, the Illini achieved the break halfway through and rode the momentum to win 8-4.

    Freshman Strong Kirchheimer and sophomore Fedor Baev then won at No. 3 to level the score. The duo broke their Illinois opponents in the first game, and did not let up in their 8-4 triumph.

    In the deciding match at No. 2, the freshmen team of Sam Shropshire and Alp Horoz had battled back from an early break, but Illinois ultimately prevailed 8-6 to capture the point.

    Illinois clinched back-to-back victories in singles play to increase its advantage by two. No. 23 Farris Gosea overpowered No. 44 Smith 6-2, 6-1 in the first spot, and Blake Bazarnik beat Kirchheimer 6-3, 6-3 in the fourth just seconds later.

    Freshman Alp Horoz achieved a Wildcat point with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 6 to reward the purple crowd. However, Illinois clinched the victory at No. 3, where Ross Guignon outlasted Kumar in a nearly break-less match, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.



    With the match determined, play discontinued at No. 2 and 6. No. 85 Shropshire had overcome a first frame loss to claim the second, and was serving down 5-6 in the third against No. 33 Kopinski. Pasareanu was also in the third set, leading 3-0.

    The `Cats continue conference competition with a trip to Purdue on Friday, where they play at 1 p.m. They then return to Evanston next Sunday to host Indiana at noon.

    #7 Illinois 4, #23 Northwestern 1
    Doubles Results
    1. #4 Ross Guignon / Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. #21 Mihir Kumar / Raleigh Smith (NU) 8-4
    2. Farris Gosea / Alex Jesse (ILL) def. Alp Horoz / Sam Shropshire (NU) 8-6
    3. Fedor Baev / Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Blake Bazarnik / Julian Childers (ILL) 8-4
    Order of finish: 1, 3, 2*

    Singles Results
    1. #23 Farris Gosea (ILL) def. #44 Raleigh Smith (NU) 6-2, 6-1
    2. #85 Sam Shropshire (NU) vs. #33 Tim Kopinski (ILL) 4-6, 6-3, 5-6 (unfinished)
    3. Ross Guignon (ILL) def. Mihir Kumar (NU) 7-6 (7-2), 7-5
    4. Blake Bazarnik (ILL) def. Strong Kirchheimer (NU) 6-3, 6-3
    5. Alex Pasareanu (NU) vs. Julian Childers (ILL) 6-4, 2-6, 3-0 (unfinished)
    6. Alp Horoz (NU) def. Alex Jesse (ILL) 6-4, 6-4
    Order of finish: 1, 4, 6, 3*


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