Vukic Takes Title at JSM Futures of Champaign-Urbana
Rising University of Illinois senior Aleks Vukic has his first professional singles title, after defeating Deiton Baughman 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 in the finals of the JSM Futures of Champaign-Urbana at the Atkins Tennis Center. The victory was in front of a staunch group of Illini supporters pulling for the native of Australia.
“It felt like a college atmosphere out there today,” said Vukic. “I had the whole crowd cheering for me. I felt very nervous toward the end, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get through without the crowd. It’s a great feeling.”
The win comes at the end of a crazy couple of months for the 21-year-old. After the end of the Illinois season, Vukic was forced to miss time due to a wrist injury.
“I came back and played my first match in two months in the Winnetka Challenger, and it was a pretty poor match to be honest,” said Vukic. “And then I got food poisoning before last week’s tournament, and it put me back a bit. This week, I may not have played my best tennis, but somehow I was able to scrape through these matches. It’s a great feeling to come through and get a title.”
Vukic says the title changes nothing about his plan to help lead his collegiate team in the 2018 season, when they’re expected to be a contender for a national championship.
“I’m definitely coming back in the fall. I’m going to talk to (Coach) Brad (Dancer), and work out a schedule so that I’m playing more professional tournaments, to get my ranking up for when I do go pro. I know that I want to be playing in the grand slams eventually, and this is a great stepping stone.”
For Baughman, it was also a return of sorts. After battling injuries for much of the last two years, he now has both a semifinal and a final in his three tournaments this year. Baughman served as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Southern California this past spring.
Full results and draws are available at illiniprotennis.com, or through our twitter account, @illiniprotennis.
Results USA F25:
Aleksandar Vukic, Australia d. Deiton Baughman, United States 7-5, 4-6, 6-2