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Courtesy: Whitney Hills
Henrique Cunha
Blue Devils Edged at No. 24 California, 4-3
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/10/2013
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BERKELEY, CALIF. - The fourth-ranked Duke University men's tennis team was edged by No. 24 California, 4-3, Sunday afternoon in its first-ever trip to the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley, Calif. The Blue Devils fall to 12-3 for the season, while the Bears improve to 7-5.

The match opened with Duke dropping just its second doubles point of the season. The Blue Devil tandem of senior Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler captured the first win at the No. 1 position with an 8-4 win over No. 18 Campbell Johnson and Chris Konigsfeldt, but the Bears quickly answered with a win of their own on court three, as Gregory Bayane and Chase Melton defeated junior Fred Saba and classmate Chris Mengel, 8-5.

In the deciding match on court two, the ninth-ranked duo of Jason Tahir and Michael Redlicki sent their match to a tiebreak, after Tahir was able to hold serve to tie the match at 8-all. The Cal tandem of Mads Engsted and Ben McLachlan went on to win the match in a tiebreak, 9-8 (5), as the Duke duo's comeback bid fell just short.

In singles, the Blue Devils were led early from the back of the lineup, capturing wins at the No. 6 and No. 5 positions. Duke evened the score at one after Tahir captured the first singles match of the day on court six, defeating Nikhil Jayashankar, 6-1, 6-1. The win for Tahir marked the 10th consecutive victory for the sophomore, as he now owns a 10-0 record from the No. 6 position in the dual season. A few moments later, Hemmeler gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the match, 2-1, after he downed Cal's Engstred, 6-2, 6-3, from the 5th position.

The Bears pushed back with two consecutive victories to regain the slight 3-2 advantage. After dropping a tough first set in his match on court two, Saba fell to Konigsfeldt in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, while Redlicki dropped his match at the No. 3 spot in the lineup, 7-5, 7-6 (7).

On court one, Cunha dropped the first set, 6-7 (3), before the senior bounced back to tie the team score at three after his thrilling 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4 win over McLachlan. A native of Jaú, Brazil, Cunha remains perfect on the season with a 7-0 record from the top spot in the lineup.

After Cunha's comeback at the top spot in the lineup, Mengel tried to complete a comeback of his own at the No. 4 position against Bayane. After falling in the first set, 1-6, the junior bounced back to take the second set, 6-4, sending the match to a decisive third set. Bayane sealed the match for the Bears, as Mengel was edged in a tiebreak, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (4).  

Up next, the Blue Devils will return home to open conference play with a match against Wake Forest at Ambler Tennis Stadium on Friday, March 15 at 1 p.m., before making the short drive to face North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m.

Tennis Match Results
Duke vs California
Mar 10, 2013 at Berkeley, Calif.
(Hellman Tennis Complex)

#24 California 4, #4 Duke 3

Singles competition
1. #9 Henrique Cunha (DU) def. No. 56 Ben McLachlin 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, 6-4
2. #34 Chris Konigsfeldt (CAL) def. #46 Fred Saba (DU) 7-5, 6-1
3. #69 Campbell Johnson (CAL) def. #31 Michael Redlicki (DU) 7-5, 7-6 (9-7)
4. Gregory Bayane (CAL) def. #70 Chris Mengel (DU) 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4)
5. #44 Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Mads Engsted (CAL) 6-2, 6-3
6. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Nikhil Jayashankar (CAL) 6-1, 6-1

Doubles competition
1. #4 Henrique Cunha/Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. #18 Campbell Johnson/Chris Konigsfeldt (CAL) 8-3
2. Mads Engsted/Ben McLachlan (CAL) def. #9 Michael Redlicki/Jason Tahir (DU) 9-8 (7-5)3. Gregory Bayane/Chase Melton (CAL) def. #43 Chris Mengel/Fred Saba (DU) 8-5

Match Notes:
Duke 12-3; National ranking #4
California 7-5; National ranking #24
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,5,2,3,1,4)