The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Frazier clinches on Senior Day, lifts No. 35 Illinois women’s tennis to 2-0 weekend

Isaac Pinkus
Fifth-year Josie Frazier prepares to serve during her first double match of the Illinois v. Indiana match on Friday, April 12, in the Atkins Tennis Center on South Goodwin Avenue.

Fresh off a weekend where they split a pair of matches between Minnesota and No. 30 Wisconsin, No. 35 Illinois women’s tennis (15-7) closed its home season with matches against Indiana (6-18) and No. 58 Purdue (11-9). A pair of wins for the Illini meant they finished with an impressive 11-1 record at home.

“We always talk about how good we are at home,” head coach Evan Clark said. “We feel good on our courts. That one loss was to Washington and even then I thought we played really well.”

Friday’s meeting with Indiana kicked off at 3 p.m. and marked the return of senior Kate Duong and sophomore Violeta Martinez. Duong was part of an All-American doubles pairing with junior Megan Heuser last season but had not played since Jan. 20. Martinez stepped into Illinois’ No. 2 singles spot in Duong’s absence but last saw action against No. 29 Washington on March 1.

Duong’s return was alongside freshman Alice Xu on No. 3 doubles and their match ended up being the difference for Illinois. A swift victory for junior Kasia Treiber and sophomore McKenna Schaefbauer on court two (6-2) followed by a loss on court one (6-4) put even more pressure on Duong/Xu to clinch the doubles point. Two straight games for the Illini broke a 5-5 stalemate and put them in front 1-0 heading into singles play.

The competition was stiff in the top half of singles play, as Schaefbauer pulled out a tight 7-6 (6) victory in the first set, Martinez was defeated 6-2 in the first set and fifth-year Josie Frazier moved in front by a margin of 6-3. 

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Play transpired much quicker in the bottom half and Xu quickly put the Illini in front 2-0 by winning in straight sets (6-4, 6-2). Junior Kida Ferrari was second to finish and ran away with the second set on court five to put Illinois within one point of victory (7-5, 6-2). This set up Treiber to clinch her sixth match of the season in yet another straight-set victory for Illinois (7-5, 6-4). Schaefbauer (7-6 (6), 3-4), Martinez (2-6, 6-3) and Frazier (6-3, 1-2) went unfinished on courts one, two and three respectively.

Less than 48 hours after its 4-0 win over Indiana, Illinois was back at Atkins Tennis Center for its final home match of the season. Warm and sunny conditions meant the match was played outside, with ambient cheers from baseball and softball adding to the noise of a rowdy home crowd. On top of an honorary ceremony before the match for Duong and Frazier, several former teammates were in attendance to watch their final home matches.

“They are just super loud because they get it,” Frazier said. “Just having that extra energy, it felt amazing. It was just pure happiness to have them here, win or lose.”

After a successful match on Friday, Duong moved back up to court one and was partnered with Heuser for the first time this spring. It only took one game for the star duo to get settled and they proceeded to win five straight games en route to a 6-2 win. 

Treiber and Schaefbauer put up a good fight on court three and rallied from a 4-2 deficit to even the match at 4-4, but ultimately fell short 6-4. The doubles point was decided on court two, as Frazier and Ferrari went back and forth at two, three, four, five and six game ties. The tiebreaker game was just as competitive, but Purdue pulled away 9-7 to take the doubles point (7-6 (7)).

The Boilermakers’ advantage was short-lived, however, as the Illini jumped out to first-set victories in five of the six singles matches. While Schaefbauer and Martinez battled through 7-5 thrillers, Treiber made quick work of her opponent on court five. A pair of 6-1 sets from the Illinois native evened the overall match at 1-1. 

A little later, Ferrari wrapped up another straight-set win for Illinois thanks to a pair of four-game win streaks in each set (6-3, 6-2). 

The count sat at 2-1 in Illinois’ favor for a while due to an extremely tight second set on court two. After initially cruising to a 6-2 victory, Purdue put up a much tougher fight against Schaefbauer and led 5-3 in the second set. However, Schaefbauer responded with a dominant stretch of three games to move in front, before one last game for the Boilermakers forced a tiebreaker game.

Schaefbauer got back to dominating in the tiebreaker and did not drop a single point as she marched to a 6-2, 7-6 (0) win.

The Illini were just one point from victory and all eyes turned to court four, where Frazier had conquered an evenly matched 7-5 first set and opened up a 5-0 lead in the second set. Despite the massive advantage, Frazier began to cramp and Purdue got on the board with a pair of games.

“My whole entire left leg started cramping,” Frazier said. “He (Clark) was giving me water and electrolytes between points which is just not normal. I was telling him ‘I can’t do this, I’m cramping’ and he was like ‘Yes you can.’”

The extra motivation and hydration ended up swinging in Illinois’ favor and Frazier delivered the finishing blow to Purdue. Frazier’s senior day clinch was her fourth of the season and lifted Illinois to a 4-1 win. 

“I was trying to be chill and treat it like any other match,” Frazier said. “But in my head, it really wasn’t. We lost the doubles point on my racket, I missed an easy shot and I literally thought the world was over. I went into singles feeling like I was going to throw up. But I got through it, coach (Clark) is amazing and he understands that all I want to do is win on Senior Day. The fact that I got through that feeling and then the fact that I was able to clinch in straight sets… honestly I can’t ask for a better feeling. I’m so happy.”

The Illini will close out their season on the road this weekend, traveling to Penn State on Friday and No. 15 Ohio State on Sunday.



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About the Contributors
Conor Blount
Conor Blount, Senior Sports Reporter
My name is Conor Blount. I’m a junior in aerospace engineering with a minor in computer science. I joined The Daily Illini in the summer of 2022 as a beat writer for the sports section and am now one of three assistant sports editors. My first beat was women’s tennis before I moved to women’s basketball in the spring. I also had the pleasure of covering several former Illini at the 2023 NFL draft and NBA summer league. If you have any questions, I can be reached at the email below.
Isaac Pinkus
Isaac Pinkus, Assistant Photo Editor
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