Illinois women’s tennis sweeps Eastern Illinois, Chicago State during Sunday doubleheader

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Sydney Laput

Illinois women’s tennis Kida Ferrari prepares to hit the ball during her singles match against Chicago State on Jan. 23. Farrari won her match, 6-1 and 6-0.

By James Kim, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s tennis team took on both Eastern Illinois and Chicago State at Atkins Tennis Center on Sunday. The doubleheader tested the team’s fitness levels, but the Illini did not falter and came out with two dominant wins over nonconference opponents. The Illini are heating up, now on a four-match winning streak. 

“I’m proud of the way they handled the day,” said head coach Evan Clark. “It’s not an easy day for anyone, playing two matches back-to-back. It was a good indicator that they’re in good shape, and they handled the situation very, very well. We’re pleased to get two wins today.”

Sunday started with a matchup against in-state rival Eastern Illinois. In doubles action, the Illini lineups remained unchanged from Thursday’s match against Harvard. The teams of freshman Megan Heuser/sophomore Kate Duong and junior Emily Casati/freshman Kasia Treiber won their matches, 6-1 and 6-0, respectively, earning the doubles point for Illinois. Before the stoppage, the duo consisting of juniors Josie Frazier and Ashley Yeah were tied 3-3.

In singles action, Illinois did not slow up, and, in similar fashion to Thursday’s win over Harvard, did not drop a single point in what was yet another dominant performance.

The singles lineup did see some changes from Thursday, as Casati and senior Shivani Ingle got matches in. They slotted in for Frazier and Yeah. Duong (6-1, 6-3), Heuser (6-2, 6-2), Treiber (6-1, 6-0), freshman Kida Ferrari (6-1, 6-0), Casati (6-2, 7-5) and Ingle (6-0, 6-2) all won their matches to finish off the sweep. The Illini defeated the Panthers by a familiar scoreline of 7-0.

Illinois, currently 1-0 on the day, would return to Atkins only a few hours later to take on Chicago State. While the team was originally scheduled to take on Northern Illinois, COVID-19 issues within NIU’s program saw it forced to cancel, with Chicago State filling in. 

It was pretty clear the change in opponent did not make a real difference to the Illini, who came out with the same doubles lineup. The team got right back to work and quickly claimed the doubles points thanks to wins from Casati/Treiber (6-3) and Frazier/Yeah (6-1). Heuser/Duong were up, 5-2, at the time of stoppage.

In singles play, the Illini made one change in the lineup from earlier against EIU, as Yeah came in to replace Heuser.

Illinois quickly earned three more points thanks to wins from Duong (6-2, 6-0), Yeah (6-2, 6-1) and Ferrari, the latter of whom didn’t drop a single game in her amazing 6-0, 6-0 victory. At the time of stoppage, Treiber and Ingle had both won their first sets, 6-1, and Casati had fought hard but lost her first set, 6-3. With the doubles point and three more singles points in the bag, Illinois claimed its second victory of the night, this time by a score of 4-0.

Ferrari is off to a great start at Illinois, currently 4-1 in singles play. These wins include Ferrari’s first collegiate win against No. 11 Baylor in the season opener. On Sunday, she didn’t appear tired at all despite the doubleheader and won both her matches, including the 6-0, 6-0 win versus Chicago State. 

“I wasn’t really that fatigued going into this match (against Chicago State),” Ferrari said, “especially with all the training that we’ve done here. So, really I was just feeling it a little bit in my legs but that was about it.”

Illinois (4-1) travels to Tallahassee this week to take on No. 15 Florida State in what will be a tough test for the team. Ferrari believes the momentum of Sunday’s victories will carry over into this matchup.

“I feel like these two wins mean everything,” Ferrari said. “And they’ve given us confidence. Even though (EIU and Chicago State) aren’t the biggest schools we’ve ever played, the wins still mean a lot. We couldn’t give up anything to them. These girls are good, so beating them has definitely led to our confidence rising. I mean we’re 4-1 now, so we have a lot of confidence coming from that.”

 

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