Men's Tennis Prepares to Face No. 24 California Sunday
LAST TIME OUT: The fourth-ranked Duke men’s tennis completed a 7-0 sweep of VCU Tuesday, after the match was moved inside the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center due to inclement weather. The team captured the doubles point for the 13th time this season, as the fourth-ranked pair of senior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Raphael Hemmeler earned their team-leading 21st win of the season and clinched the opening point for Duke. In singles, junior Chris Mengel, listed 70th in the latest ITA rankings, sealed the team victory after he won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, from the No. 4 position, while 46th-ranked Fred Saba posted a 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (8) upset over No. 15 Max Wennakoski on court two, marking his first victory of the season over a ranked opponent. DOUBLES TEAMS IN TOP-10: The Blue Devils are one of two schools in the nation, joined only by fellow ACC foe Virginia, to boast two doubles tandems ranked in the top-10 of the latest ITA doubles rankings. Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler are ranked fourth, while the pair of Jason Tahir and Michael Redlicki entered the top-10 of the rankings for the first time this season at No. 9.
SMITH FAST APPROACHING 100 CAREER WINS: Now in his fifth season as Duke’s head coach, Ramsey Smith is quickly approaching the 100th victory of his tenure. Following the team’s 7-0 sweep of VCU Tuesday, Smith sits at 95 career wins. He would become the fourth head coach in program history to reach the 100 win mark, joining Steve Strome (160), John LeBar (184) and Jay Lapidus (373).
VERSUS CAL: Sunday’s contest will mark the eighth all-time matchup between the Bears and the Blue Devils, with California leading the series with a 6-1 record. Duke posted its first victory of the series against Cal last season, defeating the Bears, 6-1, on March 11, 2012 in Durham. The Blue Devils will make their first ever visit to Berkeley in the series.
SCOUTING THE BEARS: The Bears enter Sunday’s match with a 6-5 overall record and are listed 24th in the latest ITA rankings. In their last match, Cal defeated Sacramento State, 5-2, Thursday in Sacramento, Calif. The Bears boast four ranked players in singles led by senior Christoffer Konigsfeldt at No. 34, while No. 56 Ben McLachlan, No. 69 Campbell Johnson and No. 117 Chase Melton are also listed in the rankings. In doubles, Johnson and Konigsfeldt is Cal’s top doubles tandem, ranked 18th in the latest poll, while Ben and Riki McLachlan boast a No. 46 listing.
COMING UP: Duke will return home to open its conference schedule against Wake Forest on Friday, March 15 at 1 p.m., before making the short trip to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on North Carolina Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m.