Illini women’s tennis unable to advance anybody past round of 16

The Illinois women’s tennis team had high hopes for the weekend’s USTA/ITA Midwest Regional at Atkins Tennis Center, but failed to capitalize on the home court advantage.

The Illini had five players in the main draw of singles, in a field of 48 players from around the Midwest. Of the five, three made it to the Round of 16, but no one could advance past that point.

Sophomores Louise Kwong and Alexis Casati fell in the Round of 16, but still gave encouraging performances. Casati, who had a bye in the first round, played a strong second match, defeating Patricia Lancranjan of DePaul 7-6 (4), 6-1. She would lose 3-6, 4-6 to No. 1 seed Emina Bektas from Michigan in the next round.

Head coach Michelle Dasso thought that if Casati could have pushed it to a third set, it would’ve been a more competitive match.

Kwong played a strong match in the Round of 16 that could have gone both ways, but she lost 1-6, 5-7.

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“It was the most consistent play I have ever seen from Louise, she played three really solid matches,” Dasso said.

While those two had weekends that they can build off of, senior Melissa Kopinski had one that she would like to forget. Kopinski lost to Alicia Barnett of Northwestern 3-6, 2-6.

Dasso and Kopinski both agreed that Kopinski did not stick to the gameplan she needed. Kopinski claimed she felt flat-footed early and dug herself into deep holes in both sets.

Despite working on her consistency and patience a lot over the summer, Kopinski had a hard time staying in points. She often found herself pulling the trigger too quickly and going for her shots at the wrong times.

The Illini doubles teams had even less success then the singles players. Only the doubles tandem of Kopinski and Kwong made it to the Round of 16.

“We did not perform well at all this weekend, I am not going to lie,” Dasso said. “But we did have a good showing for doubles in our first tournament, so I’m not as discouraged as I might normally be.”

Kopinski was pleased with how she and Kwong played together. The players and coaches all understand that the fall season is the time to experiment with different doubles pairings, and they hope they have found a solid duo in Kopinski and Kwong.

Cole can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @cole_Henke.