April 10, 2011
Site: Champaign, Ill. (Atkins Tennis Center)
Score: No. 15 Illinois 4, Northwestern 3
Records: Northwestern (11-9, 2-4 Big Ten) Illinois (12-8, 4-2 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, April 15 at Indiana 2 p.m. CT Bloomington, Ind.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- After surrendering a sweep of doubles play, Northwestern roared back with three victories in singles, including Tobias Reitz' upset of a ranked opponent on the No. 4 line, but could not get over the top in a 4-3 loss to 15th-ranked Illinois Sunday in Champaign. For the Wildcats, it was the second time in their last two trips to Champaign that their upset bid of a top-15-ranked Illini squad came up just short.
Northwestern also lost 4-3 to its downstate rivals on March 6, 2009, when Illinois was ranked No. 7 nationally.
After Illinois claimed victories at the No. 1 and 2 doubles lines to clinch a 1-0 lead entering singles, NU's Raleigh Smith and Chris Jackman found themselves in a tiebreaker scenario at No. 3 against Roy Kalmanovich and Dennis Nevolo. The home team eventually won in the breaker, 7-5, however, to keep momentum on their side.
Northwestern began to fight back in singles as freshman Raleigh Smith was a winner in two sets against KU Singh, 6-2, 7-6 (3). Two days after winning in his first career match at No. 4, Smith continued his climb up the NU lineup by defeating Singh in his debut at the No. 3 position.
Illinois regained a lead in the team score as ninth-ranked Dennis Nevolo staved off a valiant effort at the top spot by Joshua Graves, who fought tooth and nail in a 6-4, 7-6 (6) defeat. No. 61 Abe Souza had similar difficulties putting away Wildcats sophomore Chris Jackman, but he too was able to win in a breaker in the second set to win 6-4, 7-6 (2) and put the Illini on the verge of victory up 3-1.
, playing just his third singles dual match of the season, kept Northwestern alive with a gutty 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory at the No. 6 spot over Stephen Hoh, improving to 2-0 at No. 6 in the process.
However, Illinois officially survived the scare when Roy Kalmanovich pulled away from Spencer Wolf down the stretch of their third set to win, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3. Perhaps NU's finest win of the day came after that when Tobias Reitz came back after dropping the first set 6-1 to defeat 95th-ranked Johnny Hamui, 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3), setting the final score at 4-3.
Northwestern must endure one final regular-season road trip at Indiana and Purdue next weekend before closing the conference slate at home against Michigan State and Michigan.
No. 15 Illinois 4, Northwestern 3
1. #9 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. #119 Joshua Graves (NU) 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
2. Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) def. Spencer Wolf (NU) 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
3. Raleigh Smith (NU) def. KU Singh (ILL) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
4. Tobias Reitz (NU) def. #95 Johnny Hamui (ILL) 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
5. #61 Abe Souza (ILL) def. Chris Jackman (NU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-2)
6. Eric Spector (NU) def. Stephen Hoh (ILL) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
1. Stephen Hoh/Abe Souza (ILL) def. Joshua Graves/Spencer Wolf (NU) 8-4
2. Johnny Hamui/Brian Alden (ILL) def. Andrew McCarthy/Tobias Reitz (NU) 8-6
3. Roy Kalmanovich/Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Raleigh Smith/Chris Jackman (NU) 8-7 (7-5)
Order of finish:
Doubles (1, 2, 3)
Singles (3, 1, 5, 6, 2, 4)
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