Men’s tennis takes down No. 23 California, falls to No. 5 Stanford


Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Aleks Kovacevic gets ready to return the ball during the match against California at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. The Illini won 4-0.

By Gavin Good, Assistant sports editor

The weekend brought with it marquee matchups for the Illinois men’s tennis team.

The Illini swept No. 23 California 4-0 on Friday, but were unable to replicate their success on Saturday, as the team was defeated 4-2 by No. 5 Stanford at Atkins Tennis Center.

Against California, Illinois captured the doubles point for the fifth-consecutive match.

Freshmen Alex Brown and Caleb Chakravarthi finished first, knocking off California’s Jacob Brumm and Dominic Barretto 6-1. Sophomores Aleks Kovacevic and Zeke Clark cruised to a 6-2 win over Ben Draper and Jack Molloy, while the pairing of Aleks Vukic and Aron Hiltzik was level at 5-5 with the Golden Bears’ No. 54 team of Billy Griffith and J.T. Nishimura when the doubles point was clinched.

When singles got underway, Brown breezed by Molloy to finish first, winning 6-0, 6-2.

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Second off the court for the Illini was Vukic, ranked No. 46 in singles, who bested No. 73-ranked Griffith 6-1, 6-3. Chakravarthi sealed the win for Illinois, dispatching Barretto 6-2, 6-3.

The Illini are now 4-1 on the season, but when it came to Stanford on Saturday, the team was unable to replicate the success of the day prior.

Illinois lost the doubles point for the first time this season, as only the team of Brown and Chakravarthi won, defeating Stanford’s duo of David Wilczynski and Timothy Sah 7-6 (7-3).

At the two doubles position, Clark and Kovacevic fell to No. 32 Tom Fawcett and Axel Geller 6-1, and to seal the point for the Cardinal, No. 55 Michael Genender and Sameer Kumar knocked off No. 40 Vukic and Hiltzik 7-6 (9-7) in a tightly-contested match.

Stanford seized control of the match, earning quick wins from William Genesen, who took care of Chakravarthi with a 6-1, 6-1 win, and No. 75 Geller, who beat No. 69 Hiltizk in a competitive three-setter by a scoreline of 4-6, 6-0, 7-5.

The Illini responded, however, as Brown was able to rally to take down Kumar on court three 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, which pulled the match score to 3-1 Stanford.

Kovacevic defeat No. 117 Wilczynski in a close match, prevailing 7-5, 7-6 (12-10), before Stanford secured a 5-2 win with No. 33 Fawcett’s narrow win over No. 46 Vukic by a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5) scoreline.

With the loss, the Illini slipped to 4-2 on the season, while Stanford continued its undefeated start and now sits at 6-0.

Illinois will head out west to Seattle later this week for the ITA National Indoor tournament, which will run from Friday to Sunday.


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