DURHAM, N.C. - On Saturday No. 14 Duke faced its toughest opponent to date this season and came out on the losing end against No. 3 Tennessee in a 7-0 match at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
"Overall, I'm proud of the guys," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "I know the score is 7-0, but it was a much closer match than that. It really just came down to a couple of points here and there on every court. I thought we fought back really well, especially in second sets."
The final three points of the match were decided with third set super-tiebreakers as Tennessee had clinched the match and was up 4-0. The three matches at the top of the lineup were all extremely close but the Volunteers were able to come out on top at the end.
The No. 2 match featured a battle between two players ranked in the top five in the country. The top-ranked player, Rhyne Williams of Tennessee, and No. 5 Reid Carleton had faced each other twice during the fall and split the two decisions, each winning handily. This match was as close as it gets as the two played three tiebreakers. The first went to Williams (7-5) and the second to Carleton (7-4). Williams then edged out Carleton, 10-6, in the super tiebreaker for the victory.
Two players from the top 25 matched up in the top spot with No. 21 John-Patrick Smith earning a 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 (10-8) win over No. 9 Henrique Cunha. The loss for Cunha ended a 21-match win streak in regular season dual matches. His last loss was over one year ago on Jan. 31, 2010.
No. 118 Chris Mengel also narrowly lost to Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 (10-8) at the No. 3 position in a super tiebreaker while Luke Marchese fell in three sets 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. The other two matches were decided in straight sets.
Tennessee looked impressive in doubles as well as Smith and Boris Conkic handed Carleton and Cunha their first loss in dual match play, 8-4. They are now 7-1 in doubles.
Duke will be off for the next week before the ITA National Team Indoors Feb. 18-21 in Seattle, Wash.
Tennis Match Results
Tennessee vs Duke
Feb. 12, 2011 at Durham, N.C.
#3 Tennessee 7, #14 Duke 0
1. Boris Conkic/John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. #12 Reid Carleton/Henrique Cunha (DU) 8-4
2. Jared Pinsky/Fred Saba (DU) vs. Tennys Sandgren/Rhyne Williams (UT) 6-7, unfinished
3. Matteo Fago/Edward Jones (UT) def. David Holland/Chris Mengel (DU) 8-3
1. #21 John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. #9 Henrique Cunha (DU) 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 (10-8)
2. #1 Rhyne Williams (UT) def. #5 Reid Carleton (DU) 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 1-0 (10-6)
3. Tennys Sandgren (UT) def. Chris Mengel (DU) 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 (10-8)
4. #38 Matteo Fago (UT) def. Fred Saba (DU) 6-4, 6-3
5. Boris Conkic (UT) def. Jared Pinsky (DU) 6-4, 6-4
6. Edward Jones (UT) def. Luke Marchese (DU) 7-5, 2-6, 6-3
Tennessee 5-0; National ranking #3
Duke 7-2; National ranking #14
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (4,5,6,2,3,1)