The Fighting Illini have made good use of the hometown advantage at the JSM Illinois Challenger and look to keep at least on title in the Big Ten.
Amer Delic is continuing his comeback from injury in a big way, advancing to a final for the first time in two years, before he suffered a knee injury that put him in surgery and a long recovery. He earned that spot with his first three-setter of the tournament, coming back after a first set (3-6) loss to take the next two, 6-3,6-4. Delic will face Alex Bogomolov, who also had a tough semifinal match as he battled Bobby Reynolds for nearly three hours before prevailing, 2-6,6-0,7-6(4). It was actually Bogomolov whom he had beaten for his last singles title, at Carson, CA, in 2008.
Two former members of the 2003 NCAA Championship faced each other on opposite sides of the net on Friday. Delic and partner Reynolds (who, ironically, defeated Delic in singles and doubles during that NCAA event) played Ryler DeHeart and Pierre-Ludovic Duclos for a place in the doubles final. It was a close match that the latter team pulled out, 6-3 6-7(5), 10-8.
DeHeart was excited about the prospect of he and Delic playing for titles on “our old stomping ground.” “It’s really nice that we have two Illini in the final,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll both be able to bring it home tomorrow and take two titles. That would be awesome for the crowd.” It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that happened. In singles, Kevin Anderson won singles in 2008 and Amer Delic was the 2006 winner. Rajeev Ram is a three-time doubles winner, 2004 with Brian Baker, 2006 with Rik de Voest and 2008 with Bobby Reynolds, as well as a finalist in ’03 and ’05.
The doubles final is scheduled for noon (CST) on Saturday and will be followed by the singles. For full draws and results visit the official website for the JSM Illinois Challenger.