Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gophers and Hawkeyes fall to Illinois

April 11, 2010
Both Minnesota and Iowa came to the University of Illinois this weekend to face the No. 13 Illini and neither went home a winner, but there were still some great matches out there.

On Saturday it was No. 39 Minnesota who came to town.  The Illini dominated the doubles point, only giving up No. 3, but even that went to a tiebreaker squeaked out by Dino Bilankov & Julian Dehn over Dennis Nevolo & Johnny Hamui.  The Gophers didn't take the doubles loss hard and took control on half of the courts in the first set.  Even though,  Abe Souza (#3) and Dennis Nevolo (#1) quickly got Illinois to 3-0 with straight set wins,  the last one would not be so simple.

Despite the large lead on the board, the matches were not going in favor of the Illini as Gophers had three first sets and there was a very tight match taking place at No. 4 between Johnny Hamui and Dino Bilankov. That was in a very long start to the second set while other courts were into a third.

Another match that was in the third was next door to Hamui-Bilankov.  Stephen Hoh -- the ultimate slow starter -- had given a new name to taking over a match.  He had lost the first set (6-4) in a baseline battle with Minnesota's Brendan Ruddock before going on to take 11 straight games.  Ruddock would take one at 5-0 in the third, but Hoh clinched the victory at 6-1, just minutes before Hamui would close out his.  The lone Minnesota point in the match would come from Phillip Arnt at No. 5, who took Connor Roth in three.

Sunday would also be a good day for the Illini men as they swept No. 60 Iowa.  Though the final score would be 7-0, the Hawkeyes were certainly present at the match with the last four singles matches going the distance.   The Illini women did pretty much the same as the men this weekend, also defeated Iowa and Minnesota, both with 6-1 scores.
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