Jacinto leads Redbirds over Washington (Mo.), 5-2
Feb. 16, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Senior Nuno Jacinto beat the No. 1 ranked singles player in Division III, as the Illinois State men's tennis team defeated Washington (Mo.), 5-2, on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Evergreen Racquet Club in Bloomington, Ill. The Redbirds (3-3) topped the Bears (2-1) in straight sets in four of the six singles matches and won two tie breakers to pick up their first doubles point since Feb. 2, against SMU.
Head coach Cris James was pleased with the win, but still saw some areas for improvement.
"We played very well overall," said James. "We got off to another slow start in doubles, but we played very well after we got going. We really need to work on getting off to faster starts. The goal is to get better every weekend and to be ready for conference. We played a little better this weekend, but we also learned some things about what we need to work on."
In singles, the Redbirds were able to claim victories at the No. 1, 2, 3 and 5 spots. In the No. 1 flight, Jacinto led the charge by besting the nationally-ranked (No. 1) John Watts, 6-2, 6-4. Playing at the No. 2 position, senior Luka Marinkovic claimed a straight-set victory over Charlie Cutler, 6-4, 7-6. Sophomore Xavier Riart-Ferrer and Junior Daniel Tobar won their respective matches at the No. 3 position against Max Woods, 6-2, 6-3, and the No. 5 spot against Chris Hoeland, 7-5, 6-3.
The Redbirds were unable to capture two of the six singles matches. Bloomington native, senior Oscar Beich lost a close match in the No. 4 flight to Danny Levy, 6-4, 6-4. Sophomore Michael Hobson, playing singles for the first time since the Wichita Invitational on Jan. 20, took Nirmal Choradia to three sets before falling, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
In doubles, Illinois State was able to overcome a slow start and capture two of the three matches. The nationally-ranked (No. 47) duo of Marinkovic and Tobar defeated the No. 3 doubles team in Division III, Chris Hoeland and Cutler, in tie-breaking fashion, 9-8, (7-3). Jacinto and Riar-Ferrer also pulled out a heart-pounding victory besting Watts and Stein in the tie-breaking point, 9-8, (7-5).
James sited winning the doubles point as important in the victory.
"It really helps set the tone," said James. "Even though it is only one point, it is a pretty important one. It provides some confidence going into singles and helps the team play a little more relaxed."
The Redbirds return to action Sunday, Feb. 17, hosting Chicago State at the Evergreen Racquet Club in Bloomington, Ill. The first serve is set for 1 p.m.