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No. 10 Men's Tennis Suffers 4-3 Loss at No. 5 Illinois in Season Opener

Jan. 19, 2007

Malibu, Calif. - The No. 10 and defending national champion Pepperdine men's tennis team suffered a 4-3 loss to fifth-ranked Illinois on Friday night at the Atkins Tennis Center in both team's season opener.

With three talented newcomers in the lineup replacing three seniors from last year's championship team, head coach Adam Steinberg and assistant coach Per Nilsson knew their season opener against a Top 10 opponent would be a challenge, but felt positive the 2007 squad was up for it.

"It was a great test for our team playing at Illinois tonight," said Nilsson. "We showed a lot of heart out there and we're looking forward to a great season."

The Illini got off to a 1-0 lead after capturing the doubles point with wins at the first and second positions. Kevin Anderson and Ruben Gonzales defeated the Waves' No. 1 doubles team of Omar Altmann and Richard Johnson, 8-4, while Ryan Rowe and Brandon Davis defeated Andre Begemann and Mahmoud Kamel, 8-6.

Newcomers Bassam Beidas and James Lemke came up with a win at court three beating Marc Spicijaric and GD Jones, 8-7 (8-6).

Illinois jumped to a 3-0 lead when Beidas lost to Gonzales 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3 singles and No. 11 Ryan Rowe defeated Johnson 7-5, 7-5 at the second position. Altmann kept the Waves in the match when he defeated GD Jones in three sets at court five to give Pepperdine its first point. Kamel followed with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Brandon Davis at No. 6 to pull within one point of the Illini.

After a first-set battle at No. 1 singles came up in Illinois' favor, No. 23 Kevin Anderson clinched the match with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Pepperdine's No. 33 Begemann

At No. 4, Lemke defeated No. 83 Spicijaric 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 to give the Waves the final point of the match.

Pepperdine will look for its first win of the season on Sunday when it travels to Northwestern for an 11 a.m. (PT) match.