DURHAM, N.C. – A change of venue mid-match did nothing to slow the No. 20 Duke men’s tennis team as it finished the weekend with a 4-1 victory against Georgia Tech on Sunday afternoon. The contest began at Ambler Tennis Stadium, but finished at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center as the rain arrived in Durham.
“Last weekend was our worst weekend of the year with two rough losses,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “This was an important weekend for us to compete hard and try and pick up two ACC wins.”
The Blue Devils improved to 9-4 at home and finished the regular season with a 6-0 record at Ambler this season. Duke (15-10, 6-4 ACC) finishes the regular season next weekend with a chance to finish as high as fourth in the league standings.
“I think the big thing was we prepared for it,” Smith said of the shift indoors. “We knew the weather could come into play. It was nice to get to play as much outside as we did. We were mentally prepared to go indoors. Once we did, I told our guys it was a big advantage for us. Georgia Tech never plays indoors and Sheffield and we play at Sheffield all the time. I thought our initial burst of energy indoors really got us in that winning position and we were able to finish it off.”
For the fifth time in the last six matches, Duke captured the doubles point with wins on courts three and two. In the third position, juniors Ryan Dickerson and Jason Lapidus earned their second victory of the weekend, dropping just three games in their two matches. Sunday, the Blue Devil pair downed Phillip Gresk and Andrew Li 6-1. Duke broke and held to start the match. The Yellow Jackets got a game back, but Duke won the final four to take the match. Dickerson and Lapidus up their overall mark to 9-5 and 3-1 in ACC play.
On court two, sophomore Nick Stachowiak and freshman Sean Sculley downed Elijah Melendez and Chris Yun, 6-3. Duke opened a 2-0 lead, but Melendez and Yun responded with three-straight wins to take a 3-2 advantage. The Blue Devil duo, ranked No. 81 in the latest poll, answered by winning the last four to take the match. Stachowiak and Sculley improve to 12-11 overall, 7-9 in dual action and 2-3 versus league competition.
Duke pushed its lead to 2-0 with sophomore Robert Levine downing Melendez 6-1, 6-3 on court four. With the first set even at 1-1, Levine ripped off the last five games for the win. In the second set, Levine trailed 2-0 before capturing three straight with two breaks to go ahead 3-2. Melendez trailed just 4-3, but Levine took the last two games with a hold and break to pick up his sixth straight victory. He is now 14-7 overall and 11-6 in dual matches while leading the squad in ACC wins with seven.
The Blue Devils took a 3-0 lead on court one, where No. 16 redshirt junior Nicolas Alvarez downed No. 54 Carlos Divar, 6-3, 6-2. In the opening set, Divar jumped ahead 2-0 and led 3-1 before Alvarez answered with the final five games. In the second set, Alvarez turned a 1-1 tie into a 5-1 advantage. Divar got a game back, but Alvarez served out for the win. He improves to 14-4 overall, 9-2 in dual matches and 5-2 in ACC competition. Alvarez upped his mark against top-100 opponents to a team-best 7-3.
“It was a good weekend for Nico,” Smith said. “It’s always nice to have him in there. He’s playing well. He’s playing aggressive. He really came forward more in singles this weekend than probably he ever has. That’s something he has been working on.”
“I started off a little slow,” Alvarez said. “Once I got a break I started feeling and moving better. Overall he was not an easy opponent, but I did feel like I was in control for most of the match. When we moved indoors I felt comfortable after that first game.”
Georgia Tech tallied its point on court six with Yun defeating Dickerson 6-2, 6-3. In the opening set, Yun turned a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 advantage. Dickerson got a game back, but a Yun hold and break ended the set. In the second set, Yun led 2-0 before Dickerson evened the score at 2-2 and 3-3. From there, Yun answered with the final three games for the match. Dickerson is now 17-13 overall, 10-10 in dual matches and 4-4 in ACC play.
The Blue Devils picked up the clinching point from Stachowiak, who defeated Gresk 7-5, 6-3 on court three. The opening set was even at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before Stachowiak broke and held to go up 5-3. Gresk responded with a hold and break to knot the set at 5-5, but Stachowiak broke and held for the win. In the second set, Stachowiak started with a 3-0 advantage before Gresk cut the deficit to 3-2 and 4-3. Stachowiak held and broke for the victory. Stachowiak improves to 24-10 overall, 13-7 in dual action and 5-4 in ACC competition.
Duke closes the regular season next weekend, traveling to No. 42 Miami for a 3 p.m. Friday match and to No. 13 Florida State for a 12 noon Sunday contest. Both contests will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.
#20 Duke 4, Georgia Tech 1
April 15, 2018 at Durham, N.C. (Ambler Tennis Stadium)
1. Nicolas Alvarez/Catalin Mateas (DU) vs. #21 Carlos Divar/Michael Kay (GT) 5-4, unfinished
2. #81 Nick Stachowiak/Sean Sculley (DU) def. Elijah Melendez/Chris Yun (GT) 6-3
3. Ryan Dickerson/Jason Lapidus (DU) def. Phillip Gresk/Andrew Li (GT) 6-1
1. #16 Nicolas Alvarez (DU) def. #54 Carlos Divar (GT) 6-3, 6-2
2. #107 Catalin Mateas (DU) vs. Michael Kay (GT) 6-4, 4-6, unfinished
3. Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. Phillip Gresk (GT) 7-5, 6-3
4. Robert Levine (DU) def. Elijah Melendez (GT) 6-1, 6-3
5. Spencer Furman (DU) vs. Andrew Li (GT) 4-6, 5-3, unfinished
6. Chris Yun (GT) def. Ryan Dickerson (DU) 6-2, 6-3
Georgia Tech 5-15, 1-9 ACC
Duke 15-10, 6-4 ACC; National ranking #20
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (4,1,6,3)
Match moved indoors due to rain after all first sets completed
Official: Matthew Dolge T-2:32 A-145