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Bruno Semenzato
No. 7 Men's Tennis Opens 2014 Slate This Weekend
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/17/2014
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Match 1
No. 7 Duke vs. No. 64 Elon
Friday, Jan. 17 l 6 p.m.
Durham, N.C. l Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center

Match 2
No. 7 Duke vs. No. 9 Kentucky
Sunday, Jan. 19 l 1 p.m.
Durham, N.C. l Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center

Match 3
No. 7 Duke vs. NC Central
Sunday, Jan. 19 l 6 p.m.
Durham, N.C. l Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center

Live Video l Live Stats l Twitter l ITA Matchday Central

DURHAM, N.C. – The seventh-ranked Duke men’s tennis team will kick off the dual match portion of its season with a challenging weekend lineup, hosting No. 64 Elon, No. 9 Kentucky and NC Central at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. Match time for the season opener against the Phoenix is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 while Sunday’s contests against the Wildcats and the Eagles are slated for 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. All three matches will be streamed live on Blue Devil Network Plus.

All regular season Duke men’s tennis home events at Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center and Ambler Tennis Stadium are free to the public. General public parking is available in the Blue Zone parking lot off of Duke University Road.

Elon Series History
Friday’s contest marks the 10th all-time meeting between Duke and Elon with the Blue Devils holding a 10-0 advantage in the series … The two squads squared off in Durham a year ago with Duke collecting a 9-0 victory.

Scouting the Phoenix
Elon opened spring action last weekend at the Wolfpack Invite in Raleigh, N.C. … Ranked 64th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Division I poll, the Phoenix are led by senior Cameron Silverman, who is ranked 25th nationally in singles … Silverman won a singles title at the UVA Ranked+1 Invitational and played his way into the singles semifinals at the ITA Carolina Regional during the fall … Silverman also paired with teammate Stefan Fortmann to compete in the opening round at the ITA All-American Championships ... Elon compiled a 17-8 ledger during the 2013 season.

Kentucky Series History
Duke and Kentucky will meet for the 15th time in program history Sunday, Jan. 19 … The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 11-3 after upsetting the Wildcats, 4-2, in a thrilling match last spring in the NCAA Championships round of 16 … Duke came back from behind two times in that match to earn a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Scouting the Wildcats
Ninth-ranked Kentucky begins the spring with a pair of home matches against Dayton and Eastern Kentucky Friday, Jan. 17 before traveling to Durham Sunday … The Wildcats’ lineup features three players ranked nationally in singles, including No. 55 Beck Pennington, No. 68 Tom Jomby and No. 97 Kevin Lai ... The squad went 22-12 last season, falling to Duke in the NCAA round of 16.

NC Central Series History
Duke and the Eagles will face off for the ninth time Sunday evening with the Blue Devils leading the all-time series between the two Durham schools, 8-0 … Duke won last year’s meeting by a score of 7-0.

Scouting the Eagles
NC Central opens the dual match portion of its season Saturday, Jan. 18 at NC State before taking on Duke Sunday … The Eagles’ duo of Daniil Gerasimov and William East paced the squad during the fall, reaching the championship round at the Elon Fall Invitational and advancing to the Flight A doubles final at the UNC Wilmington Fall Invitational … As a team, NC Central finished third at the HBCU National Tennis Championship in September following a 6-10 season in 2013.

Smith’s Take
“Elon is a tough opening match and then right into Kentucky after that, which arguably was our best win last year and certainly our most exciting match,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “We’re challenging ourselves early. We’re not really gradually working our way into the season – we’re getting into it right away. But the guys have known this all along and so I think it’s helped them push themselves a little bit more. I feel like the guys are prepared and ready to go.”

ITA Announces Changes to Scoring Format
The ITA announced in early January an experimental dual match format affecting all Division I non-conference matches played between Jan. 1-Feb. 17, 2014 … Most notable among the changes is the shortening of the doubles matches from an eight-game pro-set to a six-game pro-set with no-ad scoring … In addition, once a team has won two of the three doubles matches, the remaining match will not be played to completion.

Blue Devils in the ITA Rankings
Duke opens the 2014 season ranked seventh by the ITA, while four individuals appear among the top-125 singles players on the list ... Sophomore Michael Redlicki highlighted Duke in the singles rankings, appearing 29th, following a fall that saw the Hawthorn Woods, Ill., native finish 9-4 in singles play ... Junior Jason Tahir moved up in the rankings to No. 52, the highest ranking of his collegiate career after collecting six wins in eight appearances on the fall ... For sophomore Josh Levine, his No. 77 ranking marks the first time the Syosset, N.Y., native cracked the top-125. Levine opens dual-match competition on a four-match win streak ... Sophomore Bruno Semenzato rounds out the Blue Devil contingent, tabbed as No. 95 in the preseason poll. Semenzato posted an impressive 3-1 ledger against nationally ranked opponents during his fall season.

Squad Completes Strong Fall Season
Despite battling through injury and illness during the fall, several Blue Devils turned in successful outings at a number of tournaments ... Semenzato and freshman TJ Pura teamed up to capture a doubles title while Semenzato and Levine each won singles titles at the season-opening Duke Fab Four Invitational in September ... At the ITA All-American Championships in October, Semenzato and junior Raphael Hemmeler upset Georgia’s second-ranked duo of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland in the qualifying round ... Duke had a strong showing in singles and doubles at the ITA Carolina Regional and totaled five more singles titles with redshirt junior Cale Hammond claiming a title at the Wake Forest Invitational and Levine, Hammond, Pura and sophomore Daniel McCall all winning their singles draws at the Winthrop Invitational.

Levine compiled a team-best 13-3 singles record on the fall, while Hammond and Semenzato both went 12-4 ... Pura registered an 11-5 singles ledger in his first collegiate action and paired with Semenzato for a 4-1 mark in doubles ... The tandem of Hammond and McCall was also strong with a 5-1 record.

Duke Faces Tough Slate in 2014
Head coach Ramsey Smith’s team faces a challenging 2014 slate, which includes four matches against top-10 opponents and all but two contests scheduled against ITA top-75 ranked teams ... The Blue Devils face No. 9 Kentucky in the opening weekend of the dual-match season before traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., Feb. 7, to compete against No. 6 Tennessee ... The Blue Devils will be tested in March, facing No. 10 Oklahoma March 15 in San Diego and returning home to compete against No. 1 Virginia March 23 ... Additional top-50 ranked teams on Duke’s schedule include No. 19 Wake Forest, No. 22 Illinois, No. 23 Clemson, No. 29 Notre Dame, No. 31 VCU, No. 35 NC State, No. 36 Florida State, No. 38 Virginia Tech, No. 43 North Carolina and No. 49 San Diego State.

Pura a Strong Addition to Duke Program
Freshman TJ Pura enters the 2014 season after a successful fall campaign that saw the Pacific Palisaides, Calif., native post an 11-5 ledger ... In his first collegiate tournament, Pura compiled a 2-2 record reaching the Black Bracket consolation finals at the Duke Fab Four Invitational ... Pura capped the fall season by winning his singles bracket at the Winthrop Invitational ... Pura begins dual-match competition after concluding fall play on a four-match singles winning streak.

Pura also excelled in doubles play, notching a 10-2 record after pairing with teammates Semenzato, McCall and Levine ... Pura opened his doubles collegiate campaign in convincing fashion, teaming with Semenzato to capture the White Bracket of doubles competition at the Duke Fab Four Invitational ... Partnered with Levine, Pura closed his fall doubles competition by reaching the semifinals of the Winthrop Invitational ... The pairing of Levine and Pura opens dual-match season with a three-match win streak, while Pura and McCall ended the fall on a two-match win streak.