CARY, N.C. – The ninth-ranked Duke men’s tennis team captured four straight set victories in singles, as it defeated No. 34 Florida State, 4-0, Friday afternoon at Cary Tennis Park in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men’s Tennis Championships. The Blue Devils advance to 22-4 on the season.
“I was really happy with the first round,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “To win 4-0 and advance to the semifinals sets a good tone for the tournament. I thought we did a really good job in doubles after we got off to a really good start. In singles, we took control early and they made a run before we were able to finish them off.”
In doubles, the dynamic duo of senior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Raphael Hemmeler came out strong and won the first doubles match of the day over Blake Davis and Dominic Cotrone, 8-4. The teams traded early breaks, before Cunha and Hemmeler was able to take a 3-1 advantage after their second break of the day. Cunha went on to hold serve the next game and the Duke duo took a commanding 4-1 lead in the match. With the win, Cunha and Hemmeler record their 32nd victory of the season.
The duo of Chris Mengel and Fred Saba clinched the doubles point for Duke with an 8-4 win on court three. The duo went up a commanding two breaks in the match at 6-2 and closed the door on Florida State’s Anderson Reed and Jordan Kelly-Houston four games later after Saba held serve to preserve the win for Duke.
At the No. 2 position, the duo of Michael Redlicki and Jason Tahir were up a break, 6-4, against Florida State’s Andres Bucaro and Benjamin Lock before the match was left unfinished.
“Jason and I were fired up to play ACCs,” said Redlicki. “Our whole season was revolved around getting ready for this tournament.”
In singles, the Blue Devils came out firing on all cylinders winning five of six first sets. Hemmeler continued his strong season, as the Zurich, Switzerland product downed Christian Gonzalez Mendez, 6-2, 6-3. The win is Hemmeler’s team-leading 32nd of the season.
Meanwhile, Jason Tahir gave the Blue Devils a commanding 3-0 lead after he dropped Michael Rinaldi, 6-1, 7-5. After cruising through the first set, Tahir took a 5-3 in the second before Rinaldi came back and won two consecutive games and tied the set at five-all. Tahir was then able to hold serve to take a 6-5 advantage before breaking Rinaldi to seal the match. The win is Tahir’s 20th victory in the dual season.
Redlicki sent Duke to the ACC semifinals, after he sealed the match with a 6-4, 6-3 win at the No. 3 position. With a 5-3 lead in the second frame, Redlicki, a native of Hawthorn Woods, Ill.,was able to break Kelly-Houston’s serve and give the Blue Devils the win. Redlicki captures his 30th win of the season, as well as his 10th in the ACC.
“”The key was to stay patient,” Redlicki said. “He had a good serve and a good net game. I was able to get a break in the first and took advantage of it by winning the first set. I was able to get a break the last game, which was good.”
At the No. 2 position, Saba and Lock were in a decisive third set before the match was left unfinished, 6-1, 4-6, 1-1. In the lone match-up against ranked opponents, Cunha dropped the first set of his match against Cotrone, 7-6 (10). At the fourth position, Mengel won the first set, 6-2, and was down in the second set, 2-5, against Reed before the match was left unfinished.
Up next, the Blue Devils will take on the winner of Friday’s match between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech in Saturday’s second semifinal at 1 p.m. Tickets for all sessions of the event are available for $14 for adults and $10 for youth and students, while single day passes are available for $7 for adults and $5 for youth and students. Children eight and under will be admitted free.
Tennis Match Results Florida State vs Duke Apr 26, 2013 at Cary, N.C. (Cary Tennis Park) #9 Duke 4, #34 Florida State 0
Singles competition 1. #6 Henrique Cunha (DU) vs. #109 Dominic Cotrone (FS) 6-7 (10-12), unfinished 2. #37 Fred Saba (DU) vs. Benjamin Lock (FS) 6-1, 4-6, 1-1, unfinished 3. #52 Michael Redlicki (DU) def. Jordan Kelly-Houston (FS) 6-4, 6-3 4. #112 Chris Mengel (DU) vs. Anderson Reed (FS) 6-2, 2-5, unfinished 5. #70 Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. C. Gonzalez Mendez (FS) 6-2, 6-3 6. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Michael Rinaldi (FS) 6-1, 7-5