UI roundup: Singles play delivers victory for Illini

UI roundup: Singles play delivers victory for Illini

SEATTLE — Maybe Duke was a welcomed sight for the Illinois men's tennis team.

The Blue Devils certainly were a familiar opponent.

Playing Duke for the second time in the month of February, the Illini recorded their second win of the season over the Blue Devils.

This time, it happened during Saturday's second day of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle, as 10th-ranked Illinois claimed a 4-1 triumph against 15th-ranked Duke.

After dropping the doubles point, Illinois (5-3) responded with four singles wins from the likes of Alex Brown (6-0, 6-4), Noe Khlif (6-0, 6-3), Aleks Kovacevic (6-1, 6-2) and Zeke Clark (6-3, 6-4). It was Khlif's first dual match win of the season.

The Illini get back in action at 11 a.m. today against Florida.

"We've been fortunate to play Duke twice now not at full strength," Illini coach Brad Dancer said. "Having said that, (Friday's) loss (to UCLA) took some of our soul. ... This is a good rebound win."

In women's tennis

UI continues hot start. Turn back the clocks to 1982.

Behind Saturday's 6-1 home victory over Iowa in its Big Ten opener, the Illinois women's tennis team improved to 6-1 — the Illini's best start since 1982.

In singles, the Illini dominated, winning five of the six matches, as Asuka Kawai, Jaclyn Switkes, Daniela Pedraza-Novak, Emilee Duong and Sasha Belaya all prevailed.

In baseball

Opener delayed again. Inclement weather in St. Louis on Saturday postponed the Illini's Saturday's season opener against South Dakota State. The Illini will play their previously scheduled doubleheader today at Saint Louis, with Illinois set to play South Dakota State at 11 a.m. before facing Austin Peay at 3 p.m.

In men's track and field

Wells on national stage. Illinois long jumper Jonathan Wells marked the sixth-best long jump in school history at Saturday's USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.

Wells, who redshirted the indoor college season, leaped 25 feet, 6 inches to place sixth in the 13-athlete field.

In women's track and field

Marry claims title. Miranda Marry finished off her indoor regular season in style.

During Saturday's Orange and Blue Open at the UI armory, Marry, a Fisher native, won the 600-meter dash in 1 minute, 38.46 seconds.

In softball

Oestreich keys win. Emily Oestreich turned in a solid performance inside the circle, and the Illinois softball team avenged its loss to North Carolina a day earlier.

The Illini won 5-2 over the Tar Heels on Saturday, as Illinois improved its record to 2-1 at the Big Ten/ ACC Challenge. Oestreich scattered eight hits in six innings of work and Rowan McGuire drove in two runs for the Illini (3-5).

In women's gymnastics

Hodan, Meeks shine. Illinois posted a season-best 196.350 at Michigan State on Saturday to win their dual against the host Spartans.

Kasey Meeks won the vault title for the Illini by matching her career-best mark of 9.825. Karen Howell also had a 9.825 to win the bars and floor, while Bridge Hodan won the beam with a career-best 9.925.