The Illinois men's tennis team defeated the No. 10-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys, 4-3 in a gritty, comeback victory. The Illini advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time since 2015.
Oklahoma State took the doubles point on Saturday afternoon with wins on courts one and three. Down 3-0 after losses at the No. 3 and 6 positons, the Orange and Blue began to mount a comeback. Junior Aron Hiltzik split sets with Oklahoma State's No. 105-ranked Arjun Kadhe. Hiltzik would dominate the third set, 6-0, to give Illinois its first point.
Fellow-junior Aleks Vukic and No. 26-ranked Julian Cash were locked in a battle on court one. A first set tiebreaker went the Illini's way by a score of 7-4 and the pair would trade service breaks and holds until a tiebreak was need in the second set. Vukic took the tiebreak 7-4 to extend his singles winning streak to 21 matches.
Simultaneously, freshman Zeke Clark was serving for the match on court five in a tiebreak with Tristan Meraut. After a strong forehand from Clark, Meraut's forehand went into the net to tie the match at 3-all.
The match came down to court four and freshman Aleks Kovacevic taking on Artur Dubinski. Kovacevic took the first set by way of a 7-2 tiebreak. Dubinski earned a second set victory, 7-5. In the third set, the Illini dominated the play and sealed the match victory with an ace.