Fighting Illini tennis team opens Big 10 schedule with shutout over the Nittany Lions

URBANA - The Fighting Illini men's tennis team dominated Penn State with a quick 4-0 decision to kick off their Big 10 campaign on Friday at Atkins Tennis Center.

Illinois locked down the double point barely 35 minutes after the opening serve. Sophomore Karlis Ozolins and partner Hunter Heck were the first to finish on the doubles court, cruising past Penn's Charl Morgan and Malik Bhatnagar, 6-3. Mathis Debru and Oliver Okonkwo secured the doubs competition with a 6-2 victory over Loren Byers and Sam Bossem, representing the Nittany Lions.

Chicago Latin alum Nic Meister chalked up the first singles win of the evening for the Illini defeating Bhatnagar, 6-2, 6-1.

Playing on the top court, Ozolins consistently pounded out 120+ mph serves, frustrating Morgan to a 6-1, 6-4 finish.

The Illini earned their fourth point after Okonkwo took down Penn State's Stefan Simeunovic, 6-2, 6-4.

The Illini, now 1-0 in conference play, face national tennis powerhouse Ohio State on Sunday at noon.


Illinois 4, Penn State 0

1. #49 Karlis Ozolins/Hunter Heck (ILL) def. Charl Morgan/Malik Bhatnagar (PSU) 6-3
2. #56 Mathis Debru/Oliver Okonkwo (ILL) def. Loren Byers/Sam Bossem (PSU) 6-2
3. Alex Petrov/Kenta Miyoshi (ILL) vs. Stefan Simeunovic/Miko Eala (PSU) 5-2, unfinished

1. #33 Karlis Ozolins (ILL) def. Charl Morgan (PSU) 6-1, 6-4
2. Alex Petrov (ILL) vs. Loren Byers (PSU) 6-0, 5-2, unfinished
3. Hunter Heck (ILL) vs. Miko Eala (PSU) 3-6, 1-4, unfinished
4. William Mroz (ILL) vs. Sam Bossem (PSU) 4-6, 3-2, unfinished
5. Oliver Okonkwo (ILL) def. Stefan Simeunovic (PSU) 6-2, 6-4
6. Nic Meister (ILL) def. Malik Bhatnagar (PSU) 6-2, 6-1