DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University sophomore Josh Levine and junior Raphael Hemmeler pulled out a pair of three-set victories to help the No. 17 Blue Devils to a 4-1 victory over Oregon Saturday in the opening match of the 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Duke will play the winner of the North Carolina and San Diego State match in the championship Sunday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m.
Duke (2-2) cruised through doubles to grab a 1-0 lead before getting into a tough back-and-forth battle with Oregon (3-1) in singles action.
Playing together for the first time in dual match competition, sophomore Michael Redlicki and junior Jason Tahir cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Ducks’ Kevin Farin and Robin Cambier in the No. 1 doubles match. On court two, the tandem of sophomore Bruno Semenzato and Hemmeler used a 4-1 lead to top Joey Swaysland and Daan Maasland of Oregon, 6-2. The win was the third straight for the duo and secured the doubles point for Duke.
The Ducks got off to a fast start in singles, winning the first sets on four of the courts and evened the match with a straight-set victory by Robin Cambier over Duke’s Saba on court two.
On court four Semenzato used an early break and held on for the 6-4 win in the opening set. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native carried that momentum in the second for the 6-4, 6-2 win to put the Blue Devils in front, 2-1. The win was his 15th of the year and puts his dual record at 3-1.
Hemmeler appeared as if he was going to follow suit and get off the court quickly with a 6-0 opening set win. However, Oregon’s Jayson Amos rallied in the second, 6-4, to force the decisive third set. Looking to give Duke the 3-1 lead in the match, Hemmeler regained his momentum in the third to earn the 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 victory.
With the match seemingly headed in the Blue Devils’ favor, Levine closed out the victory for Duke with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at the No. 5 position. Levine struggled in the first set, falling 6-1 but Duke’s season wins leader recomposed himself and won an early break for the 2-0 lead in the second and held serve the rest of the way to force a third set. Holding momentum, Levine never looked back to remain unbeaten in dual action.
On court one, Redlicki got off to slow start before rallying to win a second-set tiebreak to force the third set that ultimately was left unfinished. Tahir, playing at the No. 3 spot, was embroiled in a back and forth match. Maasland broke midway through the first set to win 6-4 and the match was left unfinished with Maasland holding a 5-4 lead in the second.
“It was a good win for us today,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “We didn't play our best tennis but I thought we competed great and handled adversity well. We lost four first sets in singles and things weren't looking great, but our guys buckled down and fought through some tough situations. Today was a good step forward and we are excited for another opportunity tomorrow.”
Duke returns to action Jan. 26 against in the championship match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend against San Diego State or North Carolina. First serve is at 4 p.m. The winner advances to the 2014 ITA National Team Indoors in Houston, Texas Feb. 14-17.
#17 Duke 4, #54 Oregon 1
Jan 25, 2014 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
1. Michael Redlicki/Jason Tahir (DU) def. Kevin Farin/Robin Cambier (ORE) 6-2
2. Bruno Semenzato/Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Joey Swaysland/Daan Maasland (ORE) 6-2
3. Cale Hammond/Fred Saba (DU) vs. Daniel Sardu/Jayson Amos (ORE) 4-5, unfinished
1. #29 Michael Redlicki (DU) vs. Kevin Farin (ORE) 2-6, 6-5 (7-5), 3-1, unfinished
2. Robin Cambier (ORE) def. Fred Saba (DU) 6-5 (7-0), 6-2
3. #52 Jason Tahir (DU) vs. Daan Maasland (ORE) 4-6, 4-5, unfinished
4. #95 Bruno Semenzato (DU) def. Daniel Sardu (ORE) 6-4, 6-2
5. #77 Josh Levine (DU) def. Joey Swaysland (ORE) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Jayson Amos (ORE) 6-0, 4-6, 6-3
Oregon 3-1; National ranking #54
Duke 2-2; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (2,4,6,5)
ITA Kick-Off First Round