Successful Showdown opens men’s tennis fall season with a bang


Sydney Laput

Graduate student Nic Meister prepares to hit the ball during his match against Chicago State on Jan. 22. Meister defeated Shu Matsuoka (MTSU) 6-1, 6-1 during day one of the Knoxville Showdown on Friday.

By Martin O'Connor, Staff Writer

This past weekend, Illinois men’s tennis went to the Knoxville Showdown where freshman Kenta Miyoshi, graduate student Oliver Okonkwo, sophomore Mathis Debru and graduate student Nic Meister competed from Friday to Sunday. 

Day one of the showdown resulted in 4 wins overall, with two doubles wins and two singles wins. Miyoshi and Meister defeated Marcel Kamrowski and Ondrej Horak (Middle Tennessee State University) 6-1, while Debru and Okonkwo defeated Ishaan Ravichander and Hashimoto (Columbia) 6-3 to secure the two doubles wins.

For singles, Meister defeated Shu Matsuoka (MTSU) 6-1, 6-1 and Debru defeated Mark Dillon (North Carolina) 6-2, 6-2. The only loss of the day came from Theo Winegar (Columbia) as he defeated Miyoshi in three close sets 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4).

Day two continued as Illinois won three matches on Saturday. For doubles, Okonkwo and Debru defeated Shunsuke Mitsui and Kent Hunter (Tennessee) 6-3. The other doubles match ended in defeat, as Meister and Miyoshi failed to keep their streak going against Boris Kozlov and Emile Hudd (Tennessee) 6-4. 

In singles, Meister defeated Gabriele Brancatelli (Tennessee) 6-3, 7-6 (4) and Debru defeated Hugo Hashimoto (Columbia) 6-4, 7-6 (7). The other singles match ended in defeat again for Miyoshi as he lost to Angel Diaz (Tennessee) 6-1, 6-2.

The final day of the Knoxville Showdown saw Miyoshi, Debru and Meister all win their singles matches. Miyoshi defeated Brancatelli 6-3, 6-3, Debru defeated Kozlov 6-3, 7-6 (4), and Meister defeated Diaz 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (6). Unfortunately for the Illini, they lost both their doubles matches as Meister and Miyoshi lost to Shunsuke Mitsui and Thomas Rodriguez (Tenn.) 6-1 and Okonkwo and Debru lost to Hudd and Hunter (Tenn.) 6-2.

The team finished altogether with 10 wins and 5 losses. Debru went undefeated in the whole tournament and Miyoshi was able to earn his first collegiate victory as well. Things are looking good for the team as they continue their season next in Nashville, Tenn., for the Vanderbilt Invite, starting on Friday.


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