Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Most Illini Come Up Short-Day One JSM Illinois Challenger

Past and present Illini took the court Monday evening for the first round of the JSM Illinois Challenger at the University’s Atkins Tennis Center with some impressive performance, but only two alumni came through.

Illinois’ junior Dennis Nevolo faced Peter Luczak, dropping the first set by just one break, but the second seed took it to 3-0 in the second, winning a total of seven straight games.  Nevolo fought back to regain his serve and then took Luczak to a tiebreaker, winning the set at 7-6(5).  Despite keeping up the play, Nevolo los t the early break and couldn’t get past Luczak’s important winners, losing 6-3 in the second.

Former Illini Ryler DeHeart also had a tough first round.  He came back in the first set from a 1-4 deficit, but South African Raven Klaasen was just a bit better for a 6-3,6-3 victory.  Illini senior Abe Souza, who finished his best season with a 14-0 home stand, couldn’t extend that to the post season, even though he gave a very impressive performance against Jesse Levine, the 2007 winner at this tournament.  Souza and Levine played some crowd-pleasing points in the first set before the pro’s 7-5 first set, but Levine took over in the second for a 6-1 victory.

There was a home court win for the University of Illinois.  Former players Ryan Rowe (the 2006 NCAA doubles champion with Kevin Anderson) and Marek Czerwinski teamed for their first doubles victory, defeating Aussies Adam Hubble and Greg Jones, 7-6(3),6-3.

Even though Rowe had just missed earning a Qualifying position, he did create a big upset when he took out Ohio State’s (and No. 7 seed) Chase Buchanan in the second round, 6-3,6-4, putting another notch in the Buckeye-Illini rivalry.  Current Illini Johnny Hamui fell in the second round of Qualies to Vanderbilt’s Ryan Lipman in a tough 6-4,6-7(5),6-4, while teammates Connor Roth and Karunuday Singh played each other first round with Singh prevailing.    Czerwinski also boasted two wins in the Qualifying rounds, including one over second-seeded Pierre-Ludoic Duclos, before losing to John Paul Fruttero.

Tuesday night Big Ten player action includes the former Illini and 2003 NCAA singles champion Amer Delic  vs. Qualifier Andrew Anderson; current Illini Hamui & Singh in doubles, as well as DeHeart taking the court with partner Pierre-Ludovic Duclos.   For full draws and results, visit the official website for the JSM Illinois Challenger.
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