No. 1 USC Men's Tennis Has ITA Indoor Title Repeat Hopes Dashed By Host Illinois
URBANA, ILL. — The No. 1 USC men's tennis team took its first loss of 2021 at the hands of host Illinois tonight in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The loss squashes USC's hopes of working back to the title match at the event in order to defend its 2020 crown. The Trojans are now 7-1 overall and head into the consolation bracket, facing No. 5 Texas tomorrow (Feb. 13) at 3:30 p.m. CT at the Atkins Tennis Center.
USC looked to be on track early in picking up the first win of the day on Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye's 6-3 doubles win on court two. But the Fighting Illini snagged a 6-4 decision on court three over Ryder Jackson and Lodewijk Weststrate to put the pressure on court one. There, USC's top guns, #1 Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith were dealt their first loss in 11 matches with a 7-5 defeat to Illinois' Montsi/Kenyatte, and Illinois had the first point of the match on the board 1-0.
In singles, the Fighting Illinois took the first sets on four courts and would go up 3-0 on wins from courts six and three, felling USC's Bradley Frye and #79 Ryder Jackson in straight sets. At the No. 4 spot, freshman Lodewijk Weststrate punched up a point for the Trojan cause with his 6-2, 7-6 (4) win, leaving three tight matches raging on with Illinois up 3-1. While #1 Daniel Cukierman and #19 Riley Smith were engaged in third sets, Illinois was able to pull off the upset when #112 Zeke Clark held off USC's #79 Ryder Jackson with a 7-5, 7-5 decision that got the 4-1 win for the host Fighting Illini and sent USC along to the consolation bracket.
2021 ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP (Urbana, Ill.)
Illinois 4, #1 USC 1
Feb. 12, 2021 | Atkins Tennis Center (Urbana, Ill.)
(1) Montsi/Kenyatte (ILL) def. #1 Cukierman/R. Smith (USC) - 7-5
(2) Dostanic/Frye (USC) def. Brown/Heck (ILL) - 6-3
(3) Bancila/Kovacevic (ILL) def. Jackson/Weststrate (USC) - 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
Illinois wins doubles point
(1) #1 Daniel Cukierman (USC) vs. #35 Aleksander Kovacevic (ILL) - 4-6, 6-2, 3-3 susp.
(2) #19 Riley Smith (USC) vs. #15 Alex Brown (ILL) - 6-4, 6-7 (6), 2-2 susp.
(3) #82 Siphosothando Montsi (ILL) def. #104 Stefan Dostanic (USC) - 6-4, 6-3
(4) #112 Zeke Clark (ILL) def. #79 Ryder Jackson (USC) - 7-5, 7-5*
(5) Lodewijk Weststrate (USC) def. Hunter Heck (ILL) - 6-2, 7-6 (4)
(6) Kweisi Kenyatte (ILL) def. Bradley Frye (USC) - 6-4, 6-2
Order of finish: 6, 3, 5, 4*