Illini women’s tennis extends winning streak to seven games

The Illinois women’s tennis team has been rolling since the beginning of April, and that momentum didn’t stop this weekend.

Illinois defeated Nebraska 6-1 on Saturday and Iowa on Sunday by the same score to extend its winning streak to seven games and finish the season 14-9.

Saturday’s match was no trouble for Illinois. The team clinched the doubles point after a victory on court three, where sophomore Madie Baillon and freshman Grace Tapak defeated their Nebraska opponents 8-3.

Singles also went smoothly for the Illini, with team captain Melissa Kopinski finishing first in a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Anastasia Reimchen of Iowa.

The only Illini to fall in singles Sunday was Baillon, who was defeated by Iowa’s Katie Zordani in a 3-6, 4-6 decision.

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    Kopinski clinched Sunday’s match with a win in straight sets, which was only fitting as she was celebrating senior day.

    Kopinski has finished first three times during the team’s winning streak. In the other four matches, she has clinched the victory.

    Sophomore Louise Kwong admitted that the team wanted to win a little bit more than usual on Sunday in order to send the seniors off on a good note.

    Kwong spoke highly of Kopinski and her ability to come in the clutch for Illinois.

    “She is such a great leader and an important aspect to this program,” Kwong said. “I wasn’t surprised at all that she (clinched) on senior day.”

    Sunday brought a bittersweet feeling for Kwong. While she was happy to get a win, Kwong said it was tough knowing she’ll never play again with her senior teammates at Atkins Tennis Center but added that the hot streak couldn’t have come at a better time.

    “The timing of this streak is extremely important for us,” Kwong said. “It’s good to end off the season with seven wins because it helps with our confidence, especially going into the tourney.”

    The Big Ten tournament begins on Thursday in Evanston, Illinois. For Kwong, knowing what to expect is the best thing that the Illini can do to be prepared.

    Having seen most of the teams in the Big Ten, the challenge of the tournament for Illinois isn’t knowledge of its opponents. Illinois finished the season with a 6-5 record in conference play.

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