TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Despite winning the doubles point, the 18th-ranked Duke men's tennis team got off to a sluggish start in singles and could not overcome No. 25 Alabama on the road in the second round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend, falling 4-2 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
"Our guys got off to a tough start in both doubles and singles," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "We came back and finished strong to win the doubles point, but could not rebound from losing four first sets in singles. Al (Michel) played excellent for us, but it is disappointing we couldn't find two more singles wins. Alabama played and competed very well in singles."
Alabama took early 3-0 leads in two of the three doubles contests, but Duke battled back and would eventually win the doubles point with victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots. Eighth-ranked Reid Carleton and Henrique Cunha dispatched of Michael Davis and Saketh Myneni, 8-4, in the top spot and then David Holland and Jared Pinsky gave Duke the point with an 8-4 win.
Michel and Carleton were the only two Blue Devils to win their first sets. Michel went on to close out his win at No. 6, giving Duke a 2-0 lead in the match with a 7-5, 6-4 win against Ian Chadwell. Carleton would not finish his match as Alabama went on to win four straight singles contests to advance to the National Team Indoors.
The Crimson Tide won the battles of ranked players as No. 62 Saketh Myneni beat 17th-ranked Cunha at No. 1 and No. 123 Michael Thompson defeated No. 62 Dylan Arnould in the third spot of the order. Jarryd Botha and Houssam Yassine also earned victories for Alabama as they improve to 2-1.
Duke suffers their first loss of 2010 and is now 2-1 on the season. The Blue Devils have three home matches scheduled for this weekend as they take on No. 15 Illinois at 6 p.m. on Friday and then have a doubleheader on Sunday, Feb. 7 with No. 30 Notre Dame at 12 noon and N.C. Central at 6 p.m.
Tennis Match Results
Duke vs Alabama
Jan. 31, 2010 at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
#25 Alabama 4, #18 Duke 2
1. #8 Reid Carleton/Henrique Cunha (DU) def. Michael Davis/Saketh Myneni (UA) 8-4
2. Ian Chadwell/Ricky Doverspike (UA) vs. Dylan Arnould/Torsten Wietoska (DU) 7-5, unfinished
3. David Holland/Jared Pinsky (DU) def. Jarryd Botha/Michael Thompson (UA) 8-4
1. #62 Saketh Myneni (UA) def. #17 Henrique Cunha (DU) 7-6, 6-4
2. Reid Carleton (DU) vs. Ricky Doverspike (UA) no result
3. #123 Michael Thompson (UA) def. #62 Dylan Arnould (DU) 6-4, 6-1
4. Jarryd Botha (UA) def. Torsten Wietoska (DU) 7-5, 6-4
5. Houssam Yassine (UA) def. Jared Pinsky (DU) 6-4, 6-4
6. Alain Michel (DU) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 7-5, 6-4
Duke 2-1; National ranking #18
Alabama 2-1; National ranking #25
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (6,3,5,4,1)
ITA Kickoff Weekend Second Round