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Women’s tennis falls to Ohio State in Big Ten tournament semis

Louis+Kwong+hits+a+backhand+against+Michigan+State+on+April.+24%2C+2016.+Ohio+State+knocked+out+Illinois+in+the+Big+Ten+tournament+this+past+weekend.+
Louis Kwong hits a backhand against Michigan State on April. 24, 2016. Ohio State knocked out Illinois in the Big Ten tournament this past weekend.

Louis Kwong hits a backhand against Michigan State on April. 24, 2016. Ohio State knocked out Illinois in the Big Ten tournament this past weekend.

Austin Yattoni

Austin Yattoni

Louis Kwong hits a backhand against Michigan State on April. 24, 2016. Ohio State knocked out Illinois in the Big Ten tournament this past weekend.

Christian Evans, Staff writer

The Illinois women’s tennis team hosted the Big Ten tournament over the weekend, defeating Maryland in the quarterfinals Friday before almost beating No. 4 Ohio State in the semis Sunday.

Illinois improved to 14-12 in its win 4-2 win over Maryland, while the Terrapins dropped to 16-6.

Maryland started off the match by winning at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles to take the point over the Illini. This was the Terrapins 19th doubles win in their last 22 matches.

Alexandra Stanova and Kristina Hovsepyan defeated Illinois’ Louise Kwong and Ines Vias on Court One, 6-4. Cassandre Thebault and Arnelle Sullivan then clinched the point for the Terrapins with a 7-5 win on Court Three over the Illini’s Alexis Casati and Daniela Pedraza Novak.

In singles, the Illini started off  by splitting the first two matches with the Terrapins. To begin singles, Kwong beat Stanova at the No. 1 position, 6-1, 6-4. Maryland’s Sullivan then defeated Madie Baillon in No. 3 singles, 6-4, 6-4.

Sullivan’s win against Baillon was the last of the day for Maryland as the Illini rallied after to win three-consecutive matches.

Illinois’ Grace Tapak started the win streak in No. 6 singles, beating Caroline Williams 6-1, 7-6 (7-3). Novak followed that up with a 6-0, 6-3 win at No. 5 singles over Maryland’s Kate Yemelyanenka.

Jaclyn Switkes then clinched the match for the Illini at the No. 4 position, defeating Kristina Hovsepyan 6-1 ,6-2.

With the win over Maryland, Illinois advanced to the semifinals to face tournament No. 1 Ohio State.

The Illini started off the match by taking the doubles point over the Buckeyes. Baillon and Switkes defeated the Buckeyes’ Anna Sanford and Sandy Niehaus 6-4 at the No. 2 position before Casati and Novak clinched the point for the Illini with a 7-5 win over Gabriella De Santis and Ferny Angeles Paz.

After losing the doubles point, Ohio State bounced back in singles by winning the first matches.

Ohio State’s No. 1-ranked Francesca Di Lorenzo beat Kwong 6-1, 6-0 in No. 1 singles, and Gabriella De Santis gave the Buckeyes’ a 2-1 match lead by beating Baillon 6-4, 6-3 in No. 3 singles.

The Illini retaliated by winning two-straight matches of their own at the No. 2 and No. 6 positions. At the No. 2 spot, Casati beat the Buckeyes’ Sanford 6-4, 6-4. Tapak then won 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 6 slot, besting Angeles Paz to give the Illini a 3-2 match lead over the Buckeyes.

In a win-or-go-home match, Ohio State’s Niehaus delivered for her team in No. 5 singles, tying the match at three by defeating Novak 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

The match came down to the No. 4 position, where Miho Kowase won the match for Ohio State, beating Switkes 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Ohio State improved to 27-2 with the win, and the Illini fell to 14-13.

clevans2@dailyillini.com

@cevans619

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