RICHMOND, Va. - The fifth-ranked Duke men's tennis team improved to 10-1 Saturday, grinding out a 5-2 victory on the road against No. 36 Virginia Commonwealth.
The Blue Devils won all three doubles matches and recorded singles victories on courts one, three, five and six to defeat VCU for the second time this season.
"It was a tough match today," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "VCU has a very good team and we were fortunate to pull out the win on their home courts."
In doubles, senior Torsten Wietoska and freshman Raphael Hemmeler notched their team-best 10th victory of the season, defeating the Rams' Jaime Vazquez and Camill Salomon, 8-5. Wietoska and Hemmeler also improved to 8-1 on the spring from the No. 3 doubles position.
The 15th-ranked duo of junior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Fred Saba moved to 9-2 overall and 6-2 in the No. 1 spot with an 8-5 victory over Alexis Heugas and Antoine Baroz. Meanwhile, senior David Holland and sophomore Chris Mengel teamed up for their sixth dual match win, edging VCU's Max Wennakoski and Filip Svensson, 8-6, in the No. 2 matchup.
Cunha remained unbeaten on the spring in singles play, defeating No. 89 Wennakoski in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. With the win, second-ranked Cunha improved to 9-0 in dual match play from the top spot in the lineup.
Also recording a singles victory for Duke was Wietoska, who battled to a 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 win over Baroz on court three. Freshman Jason Tahir took care of the Rams' Rui Silva in the No. 6 match, winning by scores of 6-3, 6-2. Fellow rookie Hemmeler clinched the match for the Blue Devils with a 7-5, 6-3 victory against Vazquez in the No. 5 spot.
"The freshmen did an excellent job in a pressure situation, and Henrique played a near flawless match at No. 1," Smith said. "We are looking forward to two great opportunities at home next weekend."
The Blue Devils will host No. 13 Pepperdine on Friday, March 9 and No. 11 California on Sunday, March 11 in their final matches before kicking off ACC play.
Duke vs VCU
March 3, 2012 at Richmond, Va.
(Thalhimer Tennis Center)
#5 Duke 5, #36 VCU 2
1. #15 Henrique Cunha/Fred Saba (DU) def. Alexis Heugas/Antoine Baroz (VCU) 8-5
2. David Holland/Chris Mengel (DU) def. Max Wennakoski/Filip Svensson (VCU) 8-6
3. Torsten Wietoska/Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Jaime Vazquez/Camill Salomon (VCU) 8-5
1. #2 Henrique Cunha (DU) def. #89 Max Wennakoski (VCU) 6-0, 6-0
2. Alexis Heugas (VCU) def. #19 Chris Mengel (DU) 6-1, 3-6, 7-6
3. Torsten Wietoska (DU) def. Antoine Baroz (VCU) 6-0, 5-7, 6-3
4. Filip Svensson (VCU) def. Fred Saba (DU) 7-5, 6-2
5. Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Jaime Vazquez (VCU) 7-5, 6-3
6. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Rui Silva (VCU) 6-3, 6-2
Duke 10-1; National ranking #5
VCU 12-4; National ranking #36