ORLANDO, Fla. – No. 17-ranked Kate Duong and Megan Heuser earned All-American status with Wednesday’s 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (7) Sweet 16 victory over Old Dominion’s No. 42 duo of Sofia Johnson and Tatsiana Sasnouskaya. The Elite Eight berth makes Duong and Heuser the first Illinois women’s tennis doubles All-Americans since 2013.
“I’m so proud of Megan and Kate. Their body of work this season has been one of the more impressive resumes in Illini history so they are certainly deserving of All-American honors”, opened head coach Evan Clark. “But what I’m most proud of is the way they have battled through some adversity over the last several weeks. Not many teams or individuals would have been able to get in the right head space to make this final push, so I’m so happy to see them be successful. While I know they are excited about today, I also know they are not satisfied and believe there is still a lot of tennis left for them.”
The Illini duo played Wednesday’s match outdoors from the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
After winning the first game, the Illini would break to go up 3-1 before the score was tied at 5-5. From there, the Old Dominion duo would win the final two games to take the first set 7-5.
Duong and Heuser jumped out of the gate to a 5-1 lead in the second set and ultimately evened the match with the 6-3 win.
Scoring went back-and-forth in the super breaker with neither side owning a lead bigger than one point until Illinois’ duo took a 7-5 lead. ODU’s pair pulled within one at 7-6 but the Illini tallied the next two points before securing the victory with the 10-7 decision.
Duong and Heuser are now 26-5 across the 2022-23 campaign when working together.
Next up for the Illini tandem will be the winner of Wednesday’s tilt between duos from NC State and Virginia.
Heuser and Duong are the fifth doubles duo in Illinois program history to earn a bid into the NCAA Doubles Championships and the first since 2013. The tandem is the first All-American Illini duo since Melissa Kopinski and Rachael White appeared in the Elite Eight in 2013. Heuser and Duong as well as Kopinski and White are the only two Illini duos to earn All-American status in program history.
The last time Illinois made the NCAA Tournament as a team and sent a doubles duo was 2004.
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