Jones loses match in disappointing fashion

By Alex Iniguez

Wednesday night, Illinois head coach Brad Dancer often repeated the phrase “it’s your night” to former Illini GD Jones.

Unfortunately for the 22-year-old, Dancer was wrong.

It was a sour homecoming for Jones, who lost a heartbreaker, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, to Ryan Sweeting of the United States in the first round of the main draw at the JSM Challenger in Urbana.

“I’d been looking forward to this all year,” Jones said. “I miss playing here so much. I was really looking forward to it, and I was really pumped up. I got off to a good start and was having a lot of fun. It was a great experience for me, I just wish I could’ve won.”

Jones played well in the first set by keeping up with Sweeting’s attack but could only manage to win three games. The match’s intensity was high from the start, as Sweeting lost his cool just two games into the match. After going down 0-2 in the first set, Sweeting broke his racket on the ground and continued to show his frustration throughout the rest of the match.

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    Despite taking the first service game in each of the three sets, Jones could not hold on for a victory in front of his former home crowd.

    “He’s got a powerful serve and forehand,” Jones said. “When he gets on a roll, gets some momentum, he’s a really good player.”

    The second set was all Jones. The 2007 graduate looked poised to take the match after cruising to a 6-1 score to take the set. With the crowd behind him, and Sweeting’s temper flaring yet again, Jones seemed to be rolling.

    “In the second set, GD just buckled down a little bit,” Dancer said. “He stopped making so many errors and won that set handily.”

    The third set was on track to be just as good as the second for Jones until Sweeting turned up the intensity. Up 4-2 in the deciding set, Jones appeared ready to propel himself into the second round until Sweeting put his foot down. The 21-year-old Bahamas-born player struck back by winning four straight games to seal the victory.

    “All was good until 4-2,” Jones said. “And then the last four games went by so quickly. I’m a little mesmerized right now.”

    Former Illini Amer Delic lost in the first round of singles play on Tuesday, 6-2, 6-2, to Sam Warburg of the United States. Delic withdrew from the doubles field on Wednesday with a shoulder injury.