Women’s tennis earns three wins over the weekend


Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Alexis Casati gets ready to return the ball during the match against Nebraska at the Atkin’s Tennis Center on Sunday, April 3. The Illini won 4-1.

By Gavin Good, Assistant sports editor

The Illinois women’s tennis team defeated both Maryland and Southern Illinois Carbondale on Sunday, ending with three wins over the weekend.

The first win came against Rutgers on Saturday.

Illinois captured the doubles point with doubles pair Alexis Casati and Daniela Pedraza Novak taking down Rutgers’ Farris Cunningham and Jacqueline Cochrane, 6-0. Senior Louise Kwong and sophomore Ines Vias defeated Ksenija Tihomirova and Chloe Lee, 6-2 at the No. 1 doubles position.

In singles, Kwong defeated Mingxiu Du at the No. 1 spot, 6-2, 6-1, while Casati beat Tihomirova, 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 2 spot. Senior Madie Baillon took down Lee at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-0, and sophomore Jaclyn Switkes bested Rutgers’ Katherine Muzik, 6-3, 6-2.

Vias retired from her match at No. 5 singles with Cochrane at 6-4, 4-5, but played as normal Sunday. Junior Jade Hilton knocked off Cunningham, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to wrap up the 6-1 Illini win.

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Illinois continued its run of success, beating Maryland for its fourth win in its last five matches.

Kwong and Vias cruised to a 6-2 win over Alexandra Stanova and Kristina Hovsepyan at No. 1 doubles, before Alexis Casati and Pedraza Novak took down Cassandre Thebault and Arnelle Sullivan 6-4 at No. 3 doubles. Maryland could not win the doubles point for the second time this season.

After taking the doubles point, Illinois dropped its next two singles matches, allowing Maryland to take a 2-1 lead. Casati dropped her No. 2 singles match to Ekaterina Tour, 6-2, 6-1, and Baillon lost to Sullivan at No. 3 singles, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

The Illini then rattled off four-straight wins to claim the match. Junior Grace Tapak got Illinois started on its run at No. 6 singles, besting Hovsepyan, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Jaclyn Switkes then defeated the Terrapins’ Kate Yemelyanenka in another three-set match, 6-1, 5-7, 6-1.

Kwong clinched it for the Illini, bouncing back after dropping the first set 1-6 to win a tiebreaker in the second set at 7-6 (7-5) before moving on to claim the third set, 6-3. Pedraza Novak dropped a marathon first set, 6-7 (11-13) before winning the next two, 6-3, 6-4.

Illinois moved inside to take on Southern Illinois Carbondale with rain threatening the second half of its Sunday doubleheader. The Illini were firmly in control from the jump, taking down the Salukis 4-0 after doubles pairs Casati and Pedraza Novak (No. 3 doubles) and Kwong and Vias (No. 1 doubles) took down their Saluki counterparts by scores of 6-3. The Illini ran the table in singles as well before clinching the 4-0 result.

Next up for Illinois is a trip to Iowa on March 31 and journey to Nebraska on April 2.

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