Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.
Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.
As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.
Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.
The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.
Is Illinois going to win a Big Ten game this season?
The best remaining chance to avoid a winless conference slate came and went Saturday, the Fighting Illini losers against the visiting Indiana Hoosiers by a 24-14 score in Champaign.
Lovie Smith won just two league games last season, his first as the Illinois head football coach. And with two ranked teams the only foes left on this year’s schedule, it looks like he’ll be moving backward in Year 2.
The Illini were without the services of young quarterback Cam Thomas on Saturday, meaning Jeff George Jr. was pressed into full-time quarterbacking duties. He threw a pair of late interceptions in addition to two second-half touchdown passes. But Illinois was without a point at halftime, down two touchdowns after punting on all seven of its first-half possessions.
The Illini got within three points early in the fourth quarter, but after Indiana scored a touchdown to go up by 10 with six minutes remaining, Illinois turned the ball over there straight times, George fumbling and then throwing his two picks in a mad dash to make up that late deficit.
Illinois failed to gain 300 yards of offense and had a paltry 33 rushing yards.
And so now Smith’s team faces the very real possibility of an 0-9 conference record with Ohio State and Northwestern all that’s left on the schedule. The Buckeyes were smoked at Iowa last weekend but pulverized Michigan State on Saturday by a 48-3 score, making Urban Meyer’s squad a terrifying matchup once more. Meanwhile, the Wildcats entered the College Football Playoff rankings earlier this week and entered Saturday’s game against Purdue with three straight overtime victories.
Illinois has dropped eight straight games after starting the season with back-to-back non-conference wins over Ball State and Western Kentucky. The Illini head into the final two games of the season with a 2-8 overall record and an 0-7 mark in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin is one of the best teams in the country. Illinois, to put it mildly, is not.
So Saturday's relatively easy win for the Badgers down in Champaign was not surprising in the least, the Illini doing very little on offense in a 24-10 defeat.
While Wisconsin had little trouble picking up its eighth win in as many games to stay undefeated on the season, it didn't pile up the style points it could've used ahead of next week's first batch of College Football Playoff rankings.
The Badgers did, though, come away with one highlight-reel play, tossing a touchdown pass to offensive lineman Michael Deiter in the game's final minutes.
Illinois, meanwhile, couldn't do much of anything on offense, once more constantly swapping quarterbacks, with Jeff George Jr. and freshman Cam Thomas both seeing plenty of action. Neither had much success, however, and they combined to go 9-for-31 passing the ball with a pair of interceptions.
The Illini did sneak a touchdown in with 49 seconds to play. The outcome was well determined by that point, but Kendrick Foster did get in for a score to make the final tally slightly more respectable. Still, the Illini finished with just 286 yards of total offense.
Illinois' defense was actually pretty good against one of the best teams in the land. Helping was the fact that star running back Jonathan Taylor departed the game with an injury. But the Illini held the Badgers to 303 total yards.
With the loss, the Illini dropped to 2-6 on the season and 0-5 in Big Ten play. They travel to play Purdue next weekend.