URBANA, Ill. (UI Release) - In a contest that was much closer than the score indicated, the #2 USC Trojans earned a 6-1 victory over the #15 Fighting Illini. The Orange and Blue are now 3-6 all-time against USC. Despite the outcome, sophomore Farris Gosea produced a solid day earning both a singles and doubles victory over ranked opponents.
Gosea emerged with the lone Illini point on the afternoon playing in the number five singles slot against #61 Eric Johnson. After dropping the first set 6-4, Gosea retaliated with a 6-4 set of his own, forcing a super tie-breaker third set. With the score tied 6-6, Gosea went on a 4-2 run to win the set 10-8 and claim the match.
"USC is a good team but we need to get better," said Gosea. "Look for us to improve our play and be ready for any challenge. Today was just the difference of a point here and there so just fine-tuning the little things."
#108 Ross Guignon also found himself dueling it out in third set super tie-breaker against #65 Yannick Hanfmann. Guignon had secured the first set 6-4 and was up 4-2 in the second, but Hanfmann rallied to win the set 6-4. Thus, it went to the tie-breaker where Guignon went down 9-5. Facing match point, the sophomore scored the next three points to make it 9-8. However, Hanfmann then closed the door and sealed the victory by scoring the next point to make it 10-8.
All Illinois singles competitors squared off with ranked foes inside the top-100 this afternoon, including Stephen Hoh and Tim Kopinski, who played the top-two spots in singles and faced the #2 and #9 players in the country, respectively.
Finally, despite dropping the doubles point, the Illini still served up a quality win in the number one slot where the duo of Farris Gosea and Tim Kopinski defeated #26 Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento 8-6.
"Still too much up and down and not enough steady play throughout," stated Illinois Head Coach Brad Dancer. "I'll talk to each guy individually and see where breakdowns are occurring, and I also thought fitness was a factor today."
Up next, Illinois will take their 7-6 overall record (2-0 B1G) and resume Big Ten play this coming Saturday, March 23, when they host Nebraska at 3 p.m. CT.
1. #2 Emilio Gomez (USC) def. Stephen Hoh (ILL), 6-3, 6-0
2. #9 Ray Sarmiento (USC) def. Tim Kopinski (ILL), 6-4, 6-4
3. #65 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. #108 Ross Guignon (ILL), 4-6, 6-4, 10-8
4. #23 Roberto Quiroz (USC) def. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL), 6-4, 6-2
5. Farris Gosea (ILL) def. #61 Eric Johnson (USC), 4-6, 6-4, 10-8
6. #90 Jonny Wang (USC) def. Brian Page (ILL), 6-1, 6-2
1. Gosea/Kopinski (ILL) def. #26 Hanfmann/Sarmiento (USC), 8-6
2. Quiroz/Gomez (USC) def. Guignon/Hoh (ILL), 8-3
3. Johnson/Grant (USC) def. Page/Abdelnour (ILL), 8-6