Illinois men’s tennis enjoys early season success out West

By Martin O'Connor, Staff Writer

The Illinois men’s tennis team has been dominant since the start of the new year. They enjoyed 16 wins at the Sun Devil Hidden Dual this past week and this past Saturday they added wins over Wichita State and Bryant University. They now sit 2-0 in the spring season thanks to these impressive wins. 

The doubleheader Saturday started against Wichita State with sophomore Illinois duo William Mroz and Karlis Ozolins beating Richey King and Misha Kvantaliani 7-6 (3) in their doubles match. Sophomore Mathis Debru and graduate student Oliver Okonkwo added another win by defeating Duccio Petreni and Luke Bracks 6-2. Junior Hunter Heck and redshirt senior Lucas Horve fell short of a doubles sweep by losing their match against Alex Richards and Kristof Minarik 4-6. 

The Illini then wiped the floor in singles matches with Heck, Debru, Mroz, Ozolins and Okonkwo all recording wins. Heck defeated Minarik, 6-0, 6-1, Mroz beat Richards, 6-3, 6-4, Ozolins defeated Kvsntaliani, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, while Okonkwo bested Bracks, 6-3, 6-1 and Debru beat King 6-4, 7-6 (2). Freshman Kenta Miyoshi lost his first match to Alejandro Jacome, 4-6, 4-6.

The doubleheader continued later that day with more matches against Bryant University. The Illini went undefeated in the match with Mroz/Ozolins beating Leanardo Milwikowsky and Will Pellegrini, 6-3, Debru/Okonkwo beat Aryaan Sen and Jean-Christophe Baril, 6-2, and teammates Horve/Heck had their match go unfinished. 

Singles matches for Miyoshi, Debru, and Mroz also went unfinished. Heck showed dominance in his 6-3, 6-1, win over Mileikowsky while Okonkwo won 6-1, 6-1, against Diego Trejo and Ozolins won 6-2, 6-2, over Nick Lorenz to clinch the sweep.

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An impressive start to the spring season will be put to the test when the team plays next on Jan. 21 at 2022 NCAA championship finalist Kentucky at 12 p.m. in Lexington.


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