DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s tennis team completed a weekend sweep with a 6-1 victory against VCU Saturday evening at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The Blue Devils downed Michigan State by the same score on Friday evening to capture 12 of the possible 14 points during the two matches.
Duke, winner of 33 of its last 40 home indoor matches, got the clinching point for the second-straight night from freshman Spencer Furman. Freshman Nick Stachowiak helped the cause with his seventh straight singles victory. The two proved just as impactful in doubles, capturing their ninth consecutive match.
“That was a tough challenge,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “They pushed in some tough spots. They’re a tough team. They make a lot of balls. We had to fight pretty hard, but came through with a nice, convincing, 6-1 win. Overall, this was a great weekend for us.”
It was the third straight doubles point taken for Duke as the Blue Devils picked up wins on courts one and two. Five consecutive wins for Furman and Stachowiak gave the duo a 6-1 victory against Louis Ishizaka and Arvid Noren on court two. With the match tied 1-1, Duke went on a run and the pair improved to 9-0 and 4-0 in dual matches.
“I think we have great chemistry out there,” Furman said. “I know where Nick is going to be and he says he knows where I’m going to be. We return well together and our first balls off the serve are consistent. We put opponents in some tough spots because of that.”
“Those two played a great doubles match today,” Smith said. “Yesterday they won, competed well and found a way to win, but didn’t really play that well. Today, they played great. It’s the chemistry. They have very good chemistry and similar style games. They’re both really, really quick. They’re so good from the ground. They’ve been working hard and getting just that little bit better.”
For the second consecutive night, the Blue Devils secured the doubles point on court one. This time it was sophomores Catalin Mateas and Vincent Lin defeating Vitor Lima and Philip Mobius, 6-4. The match featured five breaks of service as the two sides were even at 1-1 and 2-2 before VCU won consecutive matches to go up 4-2. Mateas and Lin then went on a four-game run with the help of two breaks to capture the match. Mateas and Lin improve to 7-4 and 3-1 in dual matches.
“Doubles came down to the wire being down a break late on courts one and three,” Smith said. “We did a great job battling back on court one and that gave us some momentum.”
Duke suffered its lone doubles loss on court three, where freshman Robert Levine and sophomore Jason Lapidus dropped a 7-5 decision to Marten Jonsson and Javier Amantegui. The match was tied at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before a VCU hold and break put the Rams’ advantage at 5-3. Duke rallied with a break and hold to knot the set at 5-5, but VCU captured the last two games with a hold and break. Lapidus and Levine are now 1-2 overall and 1-1 in dual matches.
In singles, Duke tallied its second point with Stachowiak’s 6-2, 6-2 victory against Ishizaka on court four. Stachowiak trailed 2-0 in the first set before ripping off six consecutive victories. Stachowiak fell behind 1-0 in the second set and answered with a four-game run to take control. Stachowiak lifts his record to a team-best 18-4 overall and 4-0 in dual matches.
Within a minute the Blue Devil lead was pushed to 3-0 as senior TJ Pura picked up a 6-3, 6-1 decision against Mobius on court six. With a 1-1 tie in the first set, Pura broke and held to go ahead 3-1. He held a lead of at least one game throughout the rest of the set and ended it with a break. In the second set, Pura jumped ahead 3-0 en route to the victory. Pura improves to 14-7 and 3-1 in dual matches.
For the second straight night it was Furman providing the deciding point as he defeated Amantegui 6-4, 6-2 on court five. The two were even at 1-1 in the opening set before Furman took three straight games to go up 4-1. Amantegui rallied with three of the next four to cut the deficit to 5-4. Furman held on his final serve and picked up the win. The second set had Furman trail 2-0 before running off six consecutive victories to clinch. Furman ups his record to 9-2 overall and 3-1 in dual matches.
“I had a slow start today, but I found my rhythm after a couple games in singles,” Furman said. “It was important to get the win today.”
The Blue Devils made it a five-point lead with Mateas, who downed Jonsson 7-5, 6-2 on court two. The two battled through the opening set with neither leading by more than a game until Mateas broke at 4-3 to go ahead 5-3. Jonsson answered right back with a break and hold to even the set at 5-5. Mateas then held and broke to take the first set. In the second set, Mateas turned a 2-2 tie into the win with four consecutive victories. Mateas snaps a two match losing streak and improves to 13-7 and 2-2 in dual matches.
Playing his first career match on court one, Lin turned in a comeback victory and downed Lima 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 to extend Duke’s lead to 6-0. Lima coasted through the first set by taking a 1-1 tie and winning four consecutive games on the way to the win. Lin returned the favor in the second set with an early 3-0 lead before dropping a game. Lima responded in the early part of the third set with a seemingly out-of-reach 4-0 lead. Lin had the answer again, taking six straight games to end the set. Lin raises his mark to 8-5 this year and 3-1 in dual matches.
“With Vinny’s first match at No. 1, he played a very tough opponent,” Smith said. “I’m really proud of how he competed and battled back. I think that’s a big, big win for his confidence.”
VCU tallied its lone point on court three, where Inaki Rivero Crespo held off Levine for a 7-6 (1), 4-6, 1-0 (7) win. In the opening set, the two were even at each point along the way and headed to the tiebreaker, where Rivero Crespo cruised to the set. In the second set, Levine jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Rivero Crespo held and broke to tie the set at 3-3. The two exchanged breaks and were tied at 4-4 before Levine broke and held to force a first-to-10 tiebreaker of a third set. Once in the tiebreaker, the two were even at 3-3 before Levine got consecutive points to go ahead 5-3. Rivero Crespo rallied and managed to force a 6-6 tie and then take an 8-6 advantage. Levine got within one at 8-7, but Rivero Crespo notched the last two points for the win. Levine is now 15-8 overall and 3-1 in dual matches.
Duke returns to action next weekend, playing at No. 17 Illinois on Friday, February 3, and visiting No. 10 Northwestern on Sunday, February 5. First serve against the Fighting Illini is set for 7 p.m. ET and at the Wildcats at 3 p.m.
Duke 6, VCU 1
January 28, 2017 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
1. Catalin Mateas/Vincent Lin (DU) def. Vitor Lima/Philip Mobius (VCU) 6-4
2. Nick Stachowiak/Spencer Furman (DU) def. Louis Ishizaka/Arvid Noren (VCU) 6-1
3. Marten Jonsson/Javier Amantegui (VCU) def. Robert Levine/Jason Lapidus (DU) 7-5
1. Vincent Lin (DU) def. Vitor Lima (VCU) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
2. Catalin Mateas (DU) def. Marten Jonsson (VCU) 7-5, 6-2
3. Inaki Rivero Crespo (VCU) def. Robert Levine (DU) 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 1-0 (10-7)
4. Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. Louis Ishizaka (VCU) 6-2, 6-2
5. Spencer Furman (DU) def. Javier Amantegui (VCU) 6-4, 6-2
6. TJ Pura (DU) def. Philip Mobius (VCU) 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (4,6,5,2,1,3)
Official: Lynne Allen T-2:54 A-112