Jan. 30, 2012
ATLANTA – Illinois stormed to quick wins at the bottom of the singles lineup, and Dennis Nevolo defeated Georgia Tech’s Kevin King in the deciding match at No. 1 as the 15th-ranked Illini outlasted the No. 19 Yellow Jackets, 4-3, Monday in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend consolation match.
Tech (1-3) dropped its third straight match to a ranked team since a season-opening win and now awaits a home match Saturday against South Carolina. Illinois improved to 4-1.
The Yellow Jackets had rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the match behind straight-set wins from Juan Spir, who defeated Roy Kalmanovich, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 2, and Juan Melian, who beat Bruno Abdelnour, 7-5, 6-1, at No. 3.
Nevolo, the nation’s No. 2-ranked player, clinched the match at that point by defeating King, ranked 9th, 6-4, 6-4. It was King’s first loss in four matches this spring.
“I have to give Illinois credit. We both had tough losses yesterday, and they fought us today on our home court and came through with a win,” said head coach Kenny Thorne.
“Juan Spir came back and played a great match today after having a tough loss Sunday. He’s putting the work in and staying committed to playing better. Juan Melian also played a good match. He went out and altered his game plan and fought to a win, kept his poise. Kevin fought, didn’t serve well, and you have to give credit to Nevolo. If Kevin serves well, he puts a lot more pressure on him.”
“We continue to build on some doubles combinations from previous matches,” said Thorne. “We’re playing into our strengths more each match. I feel like being poised under pressure will come with the more matches we play. We’re playing some of our toughest matches right now, which is great for us.”
But Illinois captured straight-set wins at the bottom three positions in the singles lineup and bolted to a 3-1 lead. Freshman Vikram Hundal dropped a 6-0, 6-2 decision to Farris Gosea, and senior Dusan Miljevic fell to Tim Kopinski, 6-1, 6-1. Ross Guignon made it 3-1 for the Illini with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Tech freshman Eduardo Segura.
“Four through six were disappointing,”. We’ve got to stay on the court longer than that to keep pressure off the rest of the team.
ITA KICK-OFF WEEKEND CONSOLATION
Illinois vs Georgia Tech
Jan 30, 2012 at Atlanta, Ga.
#15 Illinois 4, #19 Georgia Tech 3
1. #2 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. #9 Kevin King (GT) 6-4, 6-4
2. Juan Spir (GT) def. Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) 6-1, 6-4
3. Juan Melian (GT) def. Stephen Hoh (ILL) 7-5, 6-1
4. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) def. Dusan Miljevic (GT) 6-1, 6-1
5. Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Vikram Hundal (GT) 6-0, 6-2
6. Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Eduardo Segura (GT) 6-1, 6-1
1. #2 Kevin King/Juan Spir (GT) def. Dennis Nevolo/Farris Gosea (ILL) 9-8 (7-3)
2. Juan Melian/Vikram Hundal (GT) def. Tim Kopinski/Ross Guignon (ILL) 8-5
3. Dusan Miljevic/Eduardo Segura (GT) vs. Bruno Abdelnour/Stephen Hoh (ILL) 8-8, unfinished
Illinois 4-1; National ranking #15
Georgia Tech 1-3; National ranking #19
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (5,6,4,2,3,1)