Illini crumble Hoosiers to top off regular season

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Cameron Krasucki

Senior Aleks Kovacevic hits a ball during his singles match against Minnesota on April 4 at Atkins Tennis Center. Kovacevic played extremely well during the Illini men’s tennis match against Indiana this weekend where team won 4-0.

By Enji Erdenekhuyag, Staff Writer

The Illinois men’s tennis team swept Indiana 4-0 in its final match of the regular season Saturday, making a statement reflective of its consistent performance throughout the year. 

In doubles play, Illinois sprung out early on all three courts. Alex Brown and Zeke Clark have been relentless throughout the season, and this match was no different, as they defeated the Hoosiers 6-3. 

Brown and Clark’s partnership initially started after they made several solid runs in practice. As head coach Brad Dancer never has been one to shy away from switching up the doubles lineup, Brown and Clark were an obvious choice to experiment with. Week after week, they picked up match wins and have become one of the strongest duos in Illinois’ rotating cast. Against Indiana, the two captured their 10th victory together. 

At the No. 2 spot, Noe Khlif and Siphosothando Montsi helped reel in the first point. With Khlif’s baseline hits and Montsi’s quick service line returns, the two managed to cover nearly all areas of the court and arrived at a 6-3 win.

The Illini then went on to drain the singles matches in straight sets. 

Aleks Kovacevic carried his first set against Bennett Crane, winning 6-0 on a breakpoint. His second one followed in a similar fashion, as he defeated Crane 6-2. 

Though it may be tough to find faults with sets scored like that, Kovacevic, no matter how much he led by, seemed to pick on the minute details of his game he could improve on the next point, such as faulty serves or missed opportunities to close out a play.

In their respective singles matches, Khlif and Montsi conveyed the same momentum as their doubles performances. 

Ripping one forehand after the other, Khlif bested Vikash Singh 6-1, 6-2, while Monsti clinched the final match point against Andrew Redding 6-2, 6-4 with credit to quick transitions that kept Redding on his toes. With his 11th consecutive win, Khlif improved his record to 12-1, and Montsi also polished his own to 14-2. 

With its triumph over Indiana, Illinois closed out its run at 18-2 and will roll right into the Big Ten tournament hot off 14 consecutive wins. The Illini are to play the winner of Wisconsin and Indiana’s match Friday. 

 

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