May. 1, 2005
CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS - A fierce wind didn't prevent Illinois from claiming the 2005 Big Ten Conference Men's Tennis Championship title in a 4-2 defeat of Ohio State here Sunday (May 1) at the Atkins Tennis Center on the University of Illinois Campus.
Illinois has now won four consecutive Big Ten championship titles and nine of the last ten overall. The Fighting Illini also extended their Big Ten winning streak to 52 matches dating back to a 2001 championship final loss to Ohio State. The two schools also met in the 2004 finale with Illinois claiming a 4-1 victory over OSU. Overall, the win is Illinois' 23rd on the season with only three losses and is the 113th win for this year's seniors against only nine losses over the past four years. That breaks the school record which was set last year at 112 by the class of 2004.
Ohio State struck first Sunday by claiming the doubles point to go up 1-0. Ranked fifth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, the OSU duo of Scott Green and Ross Wilson took down GD Jones and Monte Tucker of Illinois at number one doubles by an 8-5 score. At number two doubles, Chris Klingman and Devin Mullings defeated Pramod Dabir and Ryler DeHeart, 8-6, to secure the doubles point for the Scarlet and Grey.
Illinois would answer back with the first victory in singles play. At number two singles, GD Jones won in convincing fashion with a 6-2, 6-0 over the Buckeyes Chris Klingmann. Illinois' would jump into the lead briefly with Chris Martin's victory in the fifth singles position. The senior defeated Drew Eberly 6-4, 6-3 to make the score of the championship final 2-1 in favor of Illinois.
That score wouldn't last long though as Joey Atas would come through for head coach Ty Tucker's squad. The sophomore defeated Monte Tucker 6-2, 6-3 at number three singles to tie the match at 2-2.
Under 2005 Big Ten Coach of the Year Craig Tiley, the Orange and Blue would press on toward the title with Ruben Gonzales three set win at number four singles. The freshman closed out his match by shutting out Ross Wilson in the third set to notch the 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory and put Illinois one win away from another Big Ten crown.
To clinch the title, the Illini turned to number one singles player and the eighth ranked player in the country according to the ITA rankings, Ryler DeHeart. The junior netted a 6-4, 7-5 win over Devin Mullings to wrap up the title for Illinois.
Illinois 4, Ohio State 2
1) (ILL) GD Jones/Monte Tucker 5
(OSU) #5 Scott Green/Ross Wilson 8
2) (ILL) Pramod Dabir/Ryler DeHeart 6
(OSU) Chris Klingemann/Devin Mullings 8
3) (ILL) Chris Martin/Ryan Rowe 4
(OSU) Joey Atas/Drew Eberly 7 (DNF)
Order of finish: 2, 1
1) (ILL) #8 Ryler DeHeart 6 7
(OSU) #57 Devin Mullings 4 5
2) (ILL) #24 GD Jones 6 6
(OSU) Chris Klingemann 2 0
3) (ILL) Monte Tucker 2 3
(OSU) #59 Joey Atas 6 6
4) (ILL) Ruben Gonzales 4 6 6
(OSU) Ross Wilson 6 1 0
5) (ILL) Chris Martin 6 6
(OSU) Drew Eberly 4 3
6) (ILL) Pramod Dabir 6 6
(OSU) Dennis Mertens 3 5 (DNF)
Order of finish: 2, 5, 3, 4, 1