EVANSTON, Ill. (Purdue Sports) – The fourth-seeded Purdue women’s tennis team rallied for a 4-2 come-from-behind win against fifth-seeded Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Friday at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center.
The Boilermakers, who are ranked No. 41, will take their 12-9 record into the second match within the week against top-seeded and 17th-ranked Michigan in Saturday’s semifinals at 11 a.m. ET. The Wolverines defeated ninth-seeded Iowa, 4-1, in the quarterfinals. Illinois, ranked 37th nationally, exits the tournament with a record of 14-10.
Illinois got out to a hot start by easily capturing the doubles point. Finishing first in the No. 3 spot were Misia Kedzierski and Louise Kwong, posting an 8-2 decision over Purdue’s Nicole Robinson and Claudia Escribens. An 8-3 victory by Jerricka Boone and Alexis Casati against Krisztina Kapitany and Natalia Davila earned the Fighting Illini the point.
They took a 2-0 lead as singles got underway with Melissa Kopinski’s 6-2, 6-1 win over Robinson at No. 3, but that would be all that Illinois would get from Purdue as the comeback was on.
Andjela Djokovic was the first of two Boilermakers to prevail in three sets. The freshman playing at No. 5 took the first set from Boone, 6-3, but the Illini responded in the second, 6-1. Djokovic powered past her opponent in the decisive set, 6-1, to pick up her team-best 15th win.
Mara Schmidt evened the match at 2-2 with the fifth straight-set victory of her senior campaign, defeating Allison Falkin, 7-5, 6-3, in the No. 1 slot. Kapitany rallied in the third set to dispose of Kwong, 6-2, 0-6, 6-3. The junior moved to 13-9 with the win at No. 4 and gave Purdue a 3-2 lead.
The reliable play of Escribens at No. 6 was true. The sophomore etched out a 7-6 (7-2) win over Kedzierski in the first set and came back with a dominating 6-0 second set performance to clinch the dual for the Boilermakers. In doing so, Escribens improved to 7-1 and registered her sixth shutout set.
Purdue overcame losing the doubles point to rebound with strong singles play to take the match for the third time this season. The Boilermakers have defeated the Fighting Illini in their last four meetings, pushing the all-time series in their favor, 31-27.