Illini rack up two dual wins in spring season opener


Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Junior Asuka Kawai prepares for a serve at the Atkins Tennis Center against Eastern Michigan on Sunday.

By Wes Hollenberg, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s tennis team defeated Eastern Michigan (7-0) and Eastern Illinois (4-0) in a doubleheader Sunday at the Atkins Tennis Center. The matches marked the first of the Illini’s spring season. 

In the singles matches against Eastern Michigan, junior Mia Rabinowitz won her sets, 6-1, 6-4. Junior Sasha Belaya won both of her sets, 6-2, 6-2. Freshman Ashley Yeah won her sets, 7-5, 6-2. Freshman Emily Casati went 6-0, 6-2, while both freshman Josie Frazier and junior Emilee Duong went undefeated, 6-0, 6-0.

In doubles, Belaya and Rabinowitz won their match, 6-2, and Yeah and junior Asuka Kawai won theirs, 6-4.

Duong and Frazier didn’t finish their match but had a final score of 4-3.

In the singles match against Eastern Illinois, Rabinowitz won her match, 6-0, 6-1. Yeah won hers, 6-2, 6-0. Frazier won her match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. Kawai (6-3, 4-1), Belaya (6-3, 2-0) and Casati (6-3, 5-0) didn’t finish their matches.

In doubles, Duong and Frazier won their match, 4-3. Belaya and Rabinowitz won theirs, 6-1 and Kawai and Casati won, 6-0.

The team had a rough start in doubles against Eastern Michigan, with all three of the teams down early on. However, they came back and were able to secure the doubles point.

“It was good to get back out there,” head coach Evan Clark said. “We got to a slow start at doubles. They looked a little uptight and nervous and some butterflies. I was proud of them on how they dug out of that scenario.”

The team’s win over Eastern Illinois marked Clark’s 100th career victory as head coach. 

Freshmen Casati, Frazier and Yeah all played in some of their first official collegiate matches on Sunday. 

“(Casati, Frazier and Yeah) have never played a collegiate (dual) match, so I am proud of them for getting three wins,” Clark said. “It was a good start.”

The Illini look to continue to build on their winning ways against No. 5 Duke and Southern Illinois Edwardsville next Sunday. 

Clark will look to make some adjustments in the coming days in preparation for their doubleheader. 

“We need to clean things up and be a little bit more comfortable on the court. Hopefully we’ll be a little bit looser as we move forward to next weekend,” Clark said. “Just cleaning stuff up in doubles and singles for everybody, and we’ll have a great week of practice and we’ll be ready to go.”


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