March 4, 2012
IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa men’s tennis team fell to No. 18 Illinois 6-1 on Sunday evening inside the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. Iowa (1-8 overall, 0-1 in Big Ten) claimed one match against Illinois (7-3, 2-0) as junior Garret Dunn won in singles. Four of Iowa’s last six matches have been against ranked opponents.
“We lost to one of the top teams in the country,” said head coach Steve Houghton. “We’re clearly struggling, but I believe our guys are resilient and will put it together in singles and doubles soon.”
Dunn earned a victory in No. 4 singles over Bruno Abdelnour in the final singles match of the evening. Dunn took the first set 6-3, and was ahead 5-4 in the second set. Abdelnour came back to take the second set 7-6. Since the team score was already decided, the match went into a super tie-breaker rather than a third set. Dunn won the super tie-breaker 10-7. Leading 9-7 in the tie-breaker, Abdelnour double faulted as Dunn earned the victory.
The Tempe, Ariz., native improved his singles record to 6-2, which leads the team.
“I’m proud of Garret and the type of winner he has become,” said Houghton. “He did this last year also, and he just has kept getting better and better.”
Freshman Matt Hagan won three games against Illinois’ Dennis Nevolo, the fourth-ranked player in the country. Hagan fell 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 1 singles match. Nevolo has been ranked as high as second nationally in singles. Hagan has played three No. 1 singles matches this year, becoming the first Hawkeye freshman to compete at the top singles position since Tyler Cleveland in 1998.
After dropping the first set by a 6-2 margin against Illinois’ No. 21 Roy Kalmanovich, sophomore Jonas Dierckx took the second set down to the wire. Dierckx jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Kalmanovich would rally to win the set 6-4.
Senior Will Vasos came up short in No. 3 singles, competing against Stephen Hoh. The Fort Collins, Colo., native fell 6-2, 6-2. Hoh was runner-up in the singles main draw of the Big Ten Indoor Singles/Doubles Tournament this fall.
Sophomore Michael Swank was defeated by Tim Kopinski in No. 5 singles, 6-2, 6-3. Kopinski’s victory secured the Fighting Illini win, putting Illinois up 4-0.
Freshman Andres Estenssoro made his collegiate dual debut against Farris Gosea in No. 6 singles. After dropping the first 6-0, Estensorro rebounded to win four games in the second set. Estensorro became the fourth player to make their collegiate dual debut this season along with Swank, Hagan and sophomore Joey White. The Santa Cruz, Bolivia native came to Iowa as the second-rated singles player in Bolivia.
Dunn and Swank threatened to defeat a nationally ranked doubles team for the second straight match, competing against No. 41 Nevolo and Kalmanovich. Dunn and Swank took a 6-5 lead in the match, but wound up falling 8-6. Dunn and Swank have a 4-4 doubles record this season.
Iowa also put up a strong effort in No. 3 doubles as Mroziewicz and Hagan were tied with Hoh and Gosea 5-5. The Illinois tandem would win the next three games to clinch the match. Iowa’s Vasos and Dierckx fell 8-3 in No. 2 doubles to Ross Guignon and Kopinski.
Iowa will hit the courts next with three matches in three days at the Rice Invitational in Houston, Texas over spring break. Iowa will meet No. 72 Tulane, No. 51 Rice and No. 32 Memphis from March 16-18.
No. 18 Illinois 6, Iowa 1
No. 1 – #4 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Matt Hagan (IOWA) 6-2, 6-1
No. 2 – #21 Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) def. Jonas Dierckx (IOWA) 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 – Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Will Vasos (IOWA) 6-2, 6-2
No. 4 – Garret Dunn (IOWA) def. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) 6-3, 6-7, (10-7)
No. 5 – Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Michael Swank (IOWA) 6-2, 6-3
No. 6 – Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Andres Estensorro (IOWA) 6-0, 6-4
Order of finish: (6, 1, 5, 3 )
No. 1 – #41 Nevolo/Kalmanovich (ILL) def. Dunn/Swank (IOWA) 8-6
No. 2 – Ross Guignon/Kopinski (ILL) def. Vasos/Dierckx (IOWA) 8-3
No. 3 – Hoh/Gosea (ILL) def. Tom Mroziewicz/Hagan (IOWA) 8-5
Order of finish: (2, 3, 1)