MONTGOMERY – The No. 43-ranked Alabama women’s tennis team fell to No. 22 Illinois, 4-1, in the first round of competition at the 71st playing of the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic at Lagoon Park Tennis Center on Friday.

Illinois (5-3), the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic defending champions, jumped out to an early lead by snagging the doubles point. Emilee Duong and Jaclyn Switkes topped juniors Luca Fabian and Alba Cortina Pou, 6-0, while Mia Rabinowitz and Asuka Kawai finished doubles against juniors Ann Selim and Kimberley Gintrand, 6-2.

In singles, Rabinowitz defeated Cortina Pou, 6-1, 6-2, to take a 2-0 lead. No. 62 senior Andie Daniell responded back to put the Tide on the scoreboard with a big victory against Kawai, 6-2, 7-5. Alabama’s fight came up short, as Sasha Belaya bested Fabian, 6-2, 7-5, and Dani Pedraza Novak finished Gintrand, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

In doubles play in the second round, Yale captured wins on all three courts to secure the doubles point.

The Crimson Tide will resume play against Yale on Saturday at 9 a.m. CT at O’Connor Park, and will wrap up competition playing either Fresno State or Auburn.