Senior Tobias Wernet upset tenth-ranked Dennis Nevolo and the No. 23 Minnesota men's tennis team snapped a 19-match losing streak to No. 18 Illinois with a 4-3 road win on Friday afternoon. It was Minnesota's first win against the Illini since 1996.
With the win the Gophers improve to 16-4 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten, while Illinois falls to 14-9 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota concludes the regular season at No. 66 Iowa on Sunday and then heads to the Big Ten tournament in Madison, Wis., on April 28-May 1.
"It was a great effort by the team, up and down the lineup," said coach Geoff Young. "Illinois is a very tough team, and we were fortunate to get the win."
The Gophers rallied to win the doubles point at the Atkins Tennis Center and take a 1-0 lead in the match. Illinois claimed victory at No. 3 doubles when Brian Alden and Dennis Nevolo defeated Tobias Wernet and Brendan Ruddock 8-6, but the Gophers bounced back with wins at the top two positions.
Sebastian Gallego returned to the Minnesota lineup after missing four straight matches with an injury to earn a win with partner Phillip Arndt at No. 1 doubles. The 88th-ranked pairing prevailed 8-6 against Abe Souza and Stephen Hoh. The Gophers claimed the doubles point when Rok Bonin and Julian Dehn finished off KU Singh and Johnny Hamui 8-6 at second doubles. Bonin and Dehn, who won the Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic in the fall, improved to 13-1 this year and 7-1 in dual-match competition.
Illinois won the first two singles matches to take a 2-1 lead. Singh defeated Gallego 6-2, 6-1 at third singles, while 98th-ranked Hamui stopped Arndt 6-3, 6-4 at the second slot.
Brendan Ruddock rallied for a three-set win against Hoh to even the match at 2-2. The Minnesota sophomore won 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. The Illini took a 3-2 lead and were one point away from victory when Souza, who is ranked No. 74, downed Dehn 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 at No. 6 singles.
Tobias Wernet, who is Minnesota's lone ranked player at No. 100, evened the match 3-3 when he upset tenth-ranked Nevolo at No. 1 singles. Wernet won the three-set affair 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 and now has ranked wins against three players this year. Wernet, who leads the team with a 15-4 record in dual-match competition, beat No. 50 Enej Bonin of Denver on March 26 and No. 57 Jason Jung of Michigan on April 3.
Rok Bonin secured the match for Minnesota with a straight-set win against Roy Kalmanovich at No. 2 singles. Bonin fended off Kalmanovich, who did not play doubles, 7-5, 7-6 (0) to improve his dual-match record to 10-10.
Tennis Match Results
Minnesota vs Illinois
Apr 22, 2011 at Urbana, Ill.
(Atkins Tennis Center)
#23 Minnesota 4, #18 Illinois 3
1. #100 Tobias Wernet (MINN) def. #10 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
2. Rok Bonin (MINN) def. Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) 7-5, 7-6 (7-0)
3. KU Singh (ILL) def. Sebastian Gallego (MINN) 6-2, 6-1
4. #98 Johnny Hamui (ILL) def. Phillip Arndt (MINN) 6-3, 6-4
5. Brendan Ruddock (MINN) def. Stephen Hoh (ILL) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. #74 Abe Souza (ILL) def. Julian Dehn (MINN) 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
1. #88 Phillip Arndt/Sebastian Gallego (MINN) def. Abe Souza/Stephen Hoh (ILL) 8-6
2. Rok Bonin/Julian Dehn (MINN) def. KU Singh/Johnny Hamui (ILL) 8-6
3. Brian Alden/Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Tobias Wernet/Brendan Ruddock (MINN) 8-6
Minnesota 16-4, 7-2 Big Ten; National ranking #23
Illinois 14-9, 6-3 Big Ten; National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,4,5,6,1,2)