Illinois dominates against Kentucky

By Amber Greviskes

Illinois got out to a strong start at Kentucky’s Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center and never looked back Wednesday when the No. 5 Illini defeated the No. 30 Wildcats.

The win avenges Illinois’ loss to SEC powerhouse Kentucky at the Atkins Tennis Center last year. The Wildcats snapped a 38-match winning streak when they beat the Illini at home last year.

“It is always good to get a win on the road,” said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer of the win over the Illini’s non-conferencce rivals.

Illiinois seniors Pramod Dabir and Ryler DeHeart clinched the doubles point for the Illini, defeating Nate Emge and Shane Collins.

The 17th-ranked Illini tandem knows that they will need to play well whenever they compete to get a bid into the NCAA tourrnament.

The doubles portion of the match marked the return of sophomore Kevin Anderson to the lineup. Anderson did not compete over the weekend to rest some injuries. Kentucky freshman Greg Anderson, Kevin’s younger brother, did not play in the match Wednesday night either.

Dabir continued to play well, overcoming a slow start to win his singles match over Kenny Hodge 6-3, 6-4. He was happy with the performance, especially since he lost his singles match against Michigan last weekend.

“Kentucky is a pretty decent team,” Dabir said. “And the more matches that we play the better it is for us.”

Another bright spot was the team’s lone freshman Marc Spicijaric. Despite the windy conditions, which are similar to the conditions in Champaign, Spicijaric did not lose his focus. Spicijaric defeated Carey Rubin 6-1, 6-3.

“It wasn’t about who could play the best tennis,” Spicijaric said. “It was about who fought harder.”

Spicijaric, however, said that he preferred the 7-0 win to some of the other, closer wins the team has had lately.

“It was a really good team effort,” Spicijaric said.

Volunteer assistant coach CJ Weber was pleased with the way the team capitalized on the blustery conditions to come up victorious, even though they struggled a little initially.

“The guys are really motivated to end the year strong,” Weber said. “They’re really amped up for the finish.”

The Illini return to their conference schedule during their next outing. Illinois plays Wisconsin and Northwestern on the road this weekend.