NCAA Mens Tennis

Illini Travel to Chapel Hill for ITA Kickoff Weekend

Illini Travel to Chapel Hill for ITA Kickoff Weekend

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Fighting Illini men’s tennis team will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., to compete in the ITA Kickoff Weekend — an Intercollegiate Tennis Association event that decides who competes in the ITA National Indoor Tournament in February. 

The Illini are set to face No. 16 North Carolina at 11:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, then either No. 17 Wake Forest or No. 20 Florida at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. CT on Sunday.

The top-15 schools at the end of the season are chosen to be host schools for this event. This year, the hosts include Virginia, Ohio State, Texas, TCU, Kentucky, Michigan, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, USC, Duke, Harvard, North Carolina, Arizona and Mississippi State. 

Illinois Men’s Tennis Split Doubleheader in Home Opener

Fighting Illini men’s tennis took one win and one loss in the first dual matches of the 2024 season this past weekend. While the Illini took down Toledo, 4-0, they came up just short against No. 10 Kentucky, losing 4-3.

New doubles pair Kenta Miyoshi and Mathis Debru went undefeated on the weekend, defeating Toledo’s Cole Cozens and Matias Olivero, 6-1, and Kentucky’s Eli Stephenson and Jaden Weekes, 7-6 (8).

Oliver Okonkwo and Lucas Horve also had a successful week, first beating Poonthong Komolpisut and Charlie Snow, 6-1, then going on to defeat Taha Baadi and Matt Rankin, 6-1. 

Karlis Ozolins also went undefeated last weekend, triumphing over Marko Galic, 6-2, 6-0, in the No. 2 spot, then defeating Joshua Lapadat, 6-3, 6-2, in the No. 1 spot. 

Hunter Heck also took two wins, first against Snow, 6-4, 6-1, then Jack Loutit, 6-4, 6-4. 

Viiala Joins Team Early 

Illinois men’s tennis 2024 signee Zachary Viiala joined the team in January, instead of the traditional start in August. 

Viiala has a career-high ITF ranking of 154 as well as a career-high ATP rank of 1397. He has won four singles and doubles titles and his goal is “to play all the grand slams and to maximize my potential.”

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