April 19, 2006
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Ryler DeHeart, Illinois
SR, Tampa, Fla./Jesuit
DeHeart earns his second Athlete of the Week honor after an impressive 6-0 performance in the Illini's road victories against No. 30 Kentucky, Wisconsin and No. 61 Northwestern. Third-ranked DeHeart kicked off the road trip with a three-set win over No. 56 Alex Hume (2-6, 6-3, 6-1) in the top singles spot after teaming with Paramod Dabir to defeat Shane Collins and Nate Emge, 8-3, in No. 1 doubles. Against the Badgers, the 17th-ranked tandem notched another solid win against the 55th-ranked pair of Nolan Polley and Jeremy Sonkin, 9-8 (4). The tiebreaker win clinched the doubles point for the Illini, a crucial factor in the Illini's 4-3 victory. DeHeart claimed another tough three-set singles triumph over three-time Big Ten
Player of the Week Sonkin 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
DeHeart was again tested by the Wildcats' 55th-ranked Christian Tempke in No. 1 singles. Tempke took the first set tiebreaker 7-5 before the Illinois captain bounced back with a 6-3 win in the second. A second tiebreaker was needed to decide the third set, but DeHeart closed out the match with seven straight points, improving to 11-0 in three-set matches and 15-3 against ranked opponents. The Tampa, Fla. native also improved his Big Ten singles record to 6-0.