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Duke Wins ITA Regional Championship
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/29/2011
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Photo Courtesy: Robert Kinnan
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DURHAM, N.C. – The 14th-ranked Duke men’s tennis team advanced to the ITA National Team Indoors Championships after defeating No. 21 Pepperdine in the championship match on Sunday 4-3. The ITA National Team Indoor Championships will be held Feb. 18-21 in Seattle.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys and I am really proud of this team and how we pulled together,” said men’s head coach Ramsey Smith. “I thought it was a phenomenal team effort. The doubles point was huge and there have been a lot of close doubles points and that was about as close as it gets. We knew that even winning that doubles point that it was still going to be a battle. We preached that we just needed to get four points and we found a way to get those four.”

Duke opened doubles down on courts two and three, while Henrique Cunha and Reid Carleton came out swinging and finished off another ranked opponent this weekend. They downed the No. 35 doubles tandem of Hugh Clarke and Finn Tearney 8-4 to take the first of three doubles matches.

On the other two courts the Blue Devils had two hard fought battles to pick up the doubles point. Jared Pinsky and Fred Saba battled with Alex Llompart and Alfredo Moreno, while David Holland and Chris Mengel came back from down 6-1 to make things interesting but eventually fell 8-6. Pinsky and Saba closed the doubles point for Duke in what turned out to be a decisive battle on court two with the 9-8 (10-8) tie-break win.

“The doubles win was a huge burst of energy for the entire team,” said Saba. “That was big for us and it really set the tone for everyone to go out and play good tennis. The doubles point is the most important aspect I think about college tennis. It pretty much decides how the singles matches will go.”

Pinsky and Saba continued their momentum from doubles and picked up early wins for the Blue Devils in singles in straight sets, while Chris Mengel struggled to get going and fell as Duke took the 3-1 lead.

Ninth-ranked Cunha closed out the deciding point for the Blue Devils as he came back from being down in the first set to win in three, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 to send Duke to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

“Well I think the first set I didn’t play well and he was playing aggressive and better than me,” said Cunha. “Then in the second set I was playing better, I started serving better and playing more aggressive and I think that was the key for second and third set, but the doubles point was the most important point of the day for us I think, that was huge.”

With the match already decided the two remaining matches were played out as super set tiebreaker in the third. Carleton fell in his match to Tearney 6-4, 3-6, 0-1 (14-16) while Luke Marchese suffered the loss to Moreno at No. 6 by a score of 6-4, 3-6, 0-1 (7-10).

With the win Duke improves to 5-0 on the season and Pepperdine falls to 3-1 overall. The Blue Devils will head to No. 16 Illinois on Feb. 4, and then to No. 36 Notre Dame on Feb. 6.



#14 Duke 4, #21 Pepperdine 3
Jan. 29, 2011 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)

Singles competition

1. #9 Henrique Cunha (DU) def. #14 Sebastian Fanselow (PEPP) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1

2. #112 Finn Tearney (PEPP) def. #5 Reid Carleton (DU) 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (16-14)

3. #40 Alex Llompart (PEPP) def. #118 Chris Mengel (DU) 7-5, 6-2

4. Fred Saba (DU) def. Jenson Turner (PEPP) 6-2, 6-4

5. Jared Pinsky (DU) def. Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEPP) 6-1, 6-3

6. Alfredo Moreno (PEPP) def. Luke Marchese (DU) 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7-10)


Doubles competition

1. #12 Reid Carleton/Henrique Cunha (DU) def. #35 Hugh Clarke/Finn Tearney (PEPP) 8-4

2. Jared Pinsky/Fred Saba (DU) def. Alex Llompart/Alfredo Moreno (PEPP) 9-8 (10-8)

3. Jenson Turner/Sebastian Fanselow (PEPP) def. David Holland/Chris Mengel (DU) 8-6


Match Notes

Pepperdine 3-1; National ranking #21

Duke 5-0; National ranking #14

Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,3,4,1,6,2)