Sunday, May 16, 2010

Badger men make history

The day didn’t start or end the way the Illini expected, but for the Wisconsin men, the sun was shining somewhere.

Rain delays postponed the second round NCAA tennis match at the University of Illinois and it was finally decided that it would be played indoors. It was two and a half hours after the original start, and the change much to the dismay of the Illini. Wisconsin had no problem with the move, though, and proved that it was not the home team who was in charge out there.

There was a great display of doubles from both teams with the Badgers doing it just a little bit better.  Moritz Baumann (pictured right) and Marek Michalicka took it first at No. 1, followed by Billy Bertha and Chris Freeman at No. 3, with the middle court left standing in a 6-6 tie.

Singles began with Wisconsin as in control as they were in doubles. There would be only one first set for Illinois, from Johnny Hamui (pictured left) at No. 4. Hamui would also be the only home winner, though both Abe Souza and Stephen Hoh would battle back to take their second sets. It was too late for their team, and they were left standing in the third as Moritz Baumann clinched it at No. 1 over Marek Czerwinski in a thrilling 7-5 set that had the spectators at the edge of their seats .

One thing that Illinois was not short on Saturday was loyal supporters. The crowd – which grew larger and louder throughout the match -- included alum Amer Delic (who had just come from his graduation), Ryan Rowe and Brandon Davis, but as Coach Brad Dancer said at the end of the match, “Today the hole that we got ourselves into was a little too big.”

Coach Greg Van Embergh savored the moment of the 4-1 upset, “They believed that they would win today and they went out there and got it done.”

Wisconsin will await the Sunday match between two more Big Ten foes – Ohio State and Michigan – for determination of their Sweet Sixteen opponent at the University of Georgia. This will be the Badgers first ever round of 16 appearance at the NCAA Championships.

#27 Wisconsin 4, #13 Illinois 1
Moritz Baumann (WIS) defeated Marek Czerwinski (ILL), 6-4,7-5
Marek Michalicka (WIS) defeated Dennis Nevolo (ILL), 6-3,6-1
Abe Souza (ILL) vs. Patrick Pohlmann (WIS) 5-7,6-0,4-1 Did Not Finish
Johnny Hamui (ILL) defeated Chris Freeman (WIS), 6-4,6-2
Stephen Hoh (ILL) vs. Billy Bertha (WIS) 3-6,6-3,2-4 Did Not Finish
Michael Dierberger (WIS) defeated Bruno Abdelnour (ILL), 6-1,6-2
Moritz Baumann/Marek Michalicka (WIS) defeated Marek Czerwinski/Abe Souza (ILL), 8-6
Dennis Nevolo/Johnny Hamui (ILL) vs. Patrick Pohlmann/Michael Dierberger (WIS) 6-6 Did Not Finish
Billy Bertha/Chris Freeman (WIS) def. Connor Roth/Stephen Hoh (ILL) 8-4

Photos by Marcia Frost.

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