LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 25 Duke men’s tennis team played its first road match of the year at No. 15 Kentucky and dropped a 5-2 decision. The Blue Devils captured the doubles point and netted a singles win from freshman Nick Stachowiak.
"We did some good things tonight and we pushed a very strong team on their home courts," head coach Ramsey Smith said. "I was very impressed with how we came out in doubles and made some big improvements in that area from our last match. The guys battled really hard in singles and we had our chances."
For the first time this season, Duke gained the doubles point with wins from freshmen Spencer Furman and Stachowiak and sophomores Catalin Mateas and Vincent Lin. Kentucky secured the first win in doubles as Ryotaro Matsumura and Trey Yates defeated senior TJ Pura and sophomore Jason Lapidus 6-2 on court three. Pura and Lapidus dip to 6-7 overall and 0-2 in dual matches.
The Blue Devils rallied with wins on courts one and two. Mateas and Lin evened the doubles action with a 6-4 win against Will Bushamuka and Beck Pennington on court one. The two teams were not separated by more than game until Duke broke with a 5-4 lead to end the set. Mateas and Lin are now 5-4 and 1-1 in dual matches.
Duke secured the point on court two, where Furman and Stachowiak topped Nils Ellefsen and Enzo Wallart, 6-3. Furman and Stachowiak jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Kentucky rallied with three straight wins to make it a 4-3 set. The Blue Devil duo replied with the final two games to take the match. Furman and Stachowiak are now 7-0 and 2-0 in dual matches.
Kentucky evened the match at 1-1 as Pennington topped freshman Robert Levine, 6-4, 6-2, on court three. Levine went ahead 3-1 in the opening set and held a 4-2 advantage before Pennington won five consecutive games. Levine trailed 4-1 in the second set as Pennington held on for the win. Levine dips to 13-7 overall and 1-1 in dual matches.
The Wildcats took the lead they would not relinquish at 2-1 with No. 17 Matsumura’s 6-3, 6-2 victory against Lin on court two. In the opening set, Lin trailed 3-2 and 4-3 before Matsumura got the win. In the second set, Matsumura jumped out to a 3-0 lead and cruised to the win. Lin falls to 6-5 this year and 1-1 in dual matches.
Kentucky pushed the advantage to 3-1 as No. 23 Bushamuka defeated Mateas 6-3, 6-4 on court one. With the first set even at 2-2, Bushamuka captured three consecutive games to go up 5-2 on the way to the win. Mateas took a 2-0 lead in the second set, but Bushamuka responded to even the set at 2-2 and 3-3 before going up 5-3 and holding on for the victory. Mateas drops to 12-6 and 1-1 in dual matches.
Kentucky clinched the match with Ellefsen’s 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory on court four against Furman. Ellefsen took a 5-1 lead in the first set and jumped ahead 3-1 in the second before Furman ripped off five consecutive wins to force a third set. In the third set, the two were tied 2-2 before Ellefsen went up 3-2. Furman answered with a win to tie the set at 3-3. Ellefsen took the final three games for the match. Furman falls to 7-2 and 1-1 in dual matches.
Duke got its final point from court five as Stachowiak made it a 4-2 overall score, defeating No. 110 Yates 6-2, 6-2. The victory for Stachowiak was his second against a ranked opponent and first since September 18 against No. 88 Maksim Kan of Wake Forest. Stachowiak turned a 2-2 tie in the opening set into a set win. In the second set, Stachowiak took a 4-1 lead on the way to the win. Stachowiak ups his overall record to 16-4, leading the team in singles victories. He is 2-0 in dual matches.
"I was especially pleased with Nick," Smith said. "He played at an extremely high level from start to finish and continued his stellar start to the spring."
Pura on court six closed match as Kentucky’s Wallart came back to gain a 6-7 (5), 6-2, 1-0 (6) victory. The opening set had Pura go ahead 4-1 before Wallart answered with a rally to even the set at 5-5. The two went to the tiebreaker after splitting the next two games. Pura took the tiebreaker but Wallart responded in the second set with a 3-1 lead and pushed it to 5-3 before closing the set. With the overall match already determined, the two played a first-to-10 tiebreaker of a third set with Wallart winning 10-6. Pura is now 12-7 this year and 1-1 in dual matches.
Duke has a week between matches, welcoming Michigan State to Durham for a 6 p.m. match next Friday, January 27. The Blue Devils finish the weekend with a 6 p.m. home match Saturday, January 28 against VCU.
No. 15 Kentucky 4, No. 25 Duke 3
January 20, 2017 at Lexington, Ky. (Boone Tennis Center)
1. Catalin Mateas/Vincent Lin (DU) def. Will Bushamuka/Beck Pennington (UK) 6-4
2. Spencer Furman/Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. Nils Ellefsen/Enzo Wallart (UK) 6-3
3. Ryotaro Matsumura/Trey Yates (UK) def. Jason Lapidus/TJ Pura (DU) 6-2
1. #23 Will Bushamuka (UK) def. Catalin Mateas (DU) 6-3, 6-4
2. #17 Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) def. Vincent Lin (DU) 6-3, 6-2
3. Beck Pennington (UK) def. Robert Levine (DU) 6-4, 6-2
4. Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Spencer Furman (DU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
5. Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. #110 Trey Yates (UK) 6-2, 6-2
6. Enzo Wallart (UK) def. TJ Pura (DU) 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 1-0 (10-6)
Duke 1-1; National ranking: 25
Kentucky 3-0; National ranking: 15
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,2,1,4,5,6)