No. 5 Illinois women’s tennis bows out of Big Ten tournament following quarter-final defeat to No. 4 Wisconsin


Sidney Malone

Junior Ashley Yeah eyes the ball during her singles match against Rutgers on March 27. Yeah defeated her singles Wisconsin opponent for the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, but the Illini fall to the Badgers 4-1.

By James Kim, Assistant Sports Editor

No. 5 Illinois women’s tennis was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Iowa City on Friday night against No. 4 Wisconsin. The Illini were unable to get over the hump against the Badgers and will await to see if their postseason will continue at the NCAA Tournament.

Illinois came into Friday after taking down the hosts, No. 12 Iowa, by a 4-3 victory in the second round of the tournament. The Illini were seeking revenge after suffering a 5-2 defeat at home to the Badgers in the regular season. However, things didn’t pan out the way Illinois had hoped.

It was Wisconsin who got off to a strong start in the match after earning the doubles point. The Court 1 duo of sophomore Kate Duong and freshman Megan Heuser were defeated by No. 74 ​​Xinyu Cai and Alina Mukhortova, 6-2.

However, the junior duo of Josie Frazier and Ashley Yeah equalized with a 6-3 victory over Ava Markham and Antonela Stoica. Unfortunately for the Illini, the Badgers clinched the first point after winning Court 3 as the team of junior Emily Casati and freshman Kasia Treiber fell to Taylor Cataldi and Ariel Johnson by a close 7-6 (8-6) score. Illinois 0-1 Wisconsin.

While the Illini’s struggles carried over into singles play, things started off positively as Yeah put the team on the board. The junior won against Mukhortova by a dominant 6-1, 6-1 score on Court 2 to equalize for the Illini. Illinois 1-1 Wisconsin.

The Badgers regained the lead after Casati fell 6-3, 6-2 to Charmaine Seah on Court 6. Wisconsin only needed to take two more matches to clinch the victory, and it would claim them on Courts 5 and 1. Treiber, who clutched the second-round victory against No. 12 Iowa the night prior, was unable to overcome Cataldi and lost 6-3, 6-4 on Court 5.

Duong then fell to No. 96 Markham 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 as the Badgers claimed their spot in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Both Heuser and Frazier had their matches go unfinished. Heuser was in the midst of a 4-6, 4-3 match against Cai on Court 3, and Frazier was battling out a 7-5, 1-4 match against Stoica on Court 4 at the time of stoppage. Final score: Illinois 1, Wisconsin 4.

Following its quarter-final exit, Illinois will be awaiting an invite to the 2022 NCAA Championships to see if its postseason will continue. The Illini will be hoping they’ve done enough, having undergone a winning season with a 16-9 overall record and an 8-3 record in the Big Ten Conference.

The team is currently ranked No. 48 by the ITA and will learn on Monday at 5:30 p.m. whether or not they will be competing in the NCAA Championships at home in Urbana.



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