The Daily Illini

Illinois men’s tennis bounces back against Duke, falls to UNC

Illini%27s+Gui+Gomez+plays+against+University+of+North+Carolina+at+the+Atkins+Tennis+Center+on+Friday%2C+Fe.+4th.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Illinois men’s tennis bounces back against Duke, falls to UNC

Illini's Gui Gomez plays against University of North Carolina at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, Fe. 4th.

Illini's Gui Gomez plays against University of North Carolina at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, Fe. 4th.

Jessica Jutzi

Illini's Gui Gomez plays against University of North Carolina at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, Fe. 4th.

Jessica Jutzi

Jessica Jutzi

Illini's Gui Gomez plays against University of North Carolina at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, Fe. 4th.


Although the Illinois men’s tennis team concluded this weekend with a loss to No. 7 North Carolina and a tied season record (2-2), Illinois’ weekend highlight was a comeback victory against Duke.

On Friday, the Illini found themselves down against Duke after falling in doubles competition in their home opener. Even after a quick victory from junior Aleks Vukic in the singles round, the Illini were still clawing their way up from a 3-1 deficit.

Junior Aron Hiltzik and senior Alex Jesse collected wins to tie up the match score, leaving the winning point up to freshman Gui Gomes. He clinched the victory for the Illini in three nail-biting matches against Robert Levine.
For Gomes, earning the final match point was what being an Illini is all about.

“It was an unbelievable feeling, I love the environment and support for everyone,” Gomes said. “It was a tough match, but I love playing here, love being here. I love being an Illini.”

Illinois head coach Brad Dancer said the victory was also a display of the team’s hard work.

“I am incredibly proud of the guys tonight,” Dancer said. “I think in every one of those, we felt okay where we were. It was great how the guys stayed within themselves and kept themselves composed down the stretch.”

But Illinois did not transfer their winning momentum the following day.

The Illini fell behind early on in doubles competition against the Tar Heels, which is one area that Dancer said the team must improve.

“It’s an individual situation, and we have individuals who are starting to play better in doubles,” Dancer said. “We just need to get one or two guys to spark that and make a difference.”
In singles, Vukic snagged a victory over William Blumberg alongside teammate Gomes, who gave Illinois a 2-1 advantage. But, another North Carolina victory over senior Julian Childers tied the match.
Three more victories on the courts resulted in a 5-2 victory for UNC.
“All of these things that were considerably up and have chances to put the nail in the coffin,” Dancer said. “We didn’t do it, and when that happens you have to give a lot of credit to the opponents.”
Illinois will host Indiana University in its Big Ten opener at the Atkins Tennis Center Friday at 6 p.m.
Leave a Comment
The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871