EVANSTON, Ill. – For the second consecutive match, the Duke men’s tennis team came tantalizingly close to pulling off an upset in the state of Illinois, but fell 4-2 Sunday afternoon at No. 9 Northwestern. On Friday evening, the Blue Devils led 3-1 but lost at No. 17 Illinois.
On Sunday, Duke trailed 2-0 only to force a 2-2 tie and have the Wildcats take the final two matches, both of which lasted 10 or more games in the final set. Freshmen Spencer Furman and Nick Stachowiak tallied singles wins for the Blue Devils (3-3). Stachowiak extended his winning streak to nine matches while Furman is 7-3 in his last 10 decisions.
For just the second time this season, Duke dropped the doubles point as Northwestern tallied victories on courts one and three. The Wildcats got the first victory at No. 3, where Chris Ephron and Michael Lorenzini downed freshman Robert Levine and sophomore Ryan Dickerson, 6-2. Northwestern jumped out to a 4-0 lead and Duke could not claw back, trailing 4-1 and 5-2 before the Wildcat pair finished the set. Levine and Dickerson are 1-3, all in dual matches.
Northwestern (9-0) got the win from Konrad Zieba and Sam Shropshire, who defeated sophomores Catalin Mateas and Vincent Lin 6-3 on court one. Mateas and Lin jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but the Wildcat duo raced back with the last five games for the win. The Blue Devil pair falls to 8-5 and 4-2 in dual matches.
The third doubles match was halted at 4-4 once the point was determined with Furman and Stachowiak taking on Dominik Stary and Strong Kirchheimer.
Northwestern took a 2-0 lead with the first singles decision going to No. 26 Kirchheimer against Lin on court one, 6-3, 6-1. In the opening set, Lin was within two games at 3-1 and 4-2 but could not even the action, and Kirchheimer pulled away in the second set. Lin slips to 8-7 with a 3-3 dual ledger.
Duke registered its first point on court five as Furman topped Ben Vandixhorn 6-3, 6-4. Furman turned a 2-2 tie in the opening set into a 5-2 advantage and held on. In the second set, Furman held serve throughout and used a break in the final game to secure the match. Furman improves his record to 10-3 overall and 4-2 in dual action. Furman is the fifth Blue Devil to reach the double-digit win plateau in singles.
On court four, Duke evened the match at 2-2 overall with a 6-4, 6-2 victory by Stachowiak against Stary. Stachowiak raced ahead 3-0 in the opening set and had a 5-2 advantage before Stary closed the gap to 5-4. Stachowiak closed out, was tied 2-2 in the second set and ended the match with a four-game run. Stachowiak boosts his record to 20-4 overall and 6-0 in dual matches. Stachowiak’s nine match winning streak is the longest for a Blue Devil since Raphael Hemmeler’s nine from March 15 – April 16, 2015.
Two more close matches went in favor of Northwestern to swing the match in its favor. On court three, the Wildcats regained the lead at 3-2 from Zieba’s 6-4, 7-6 (5) win versus Levine. Levine led 2-0 in the opening set and then trailed 4-2 before evening the set at 4-4. Zieba won the last two games for the set. The second set had Levine out to a 4-1 advantage before Zieba closed the gap to 4-2. Levine still led at 5-3, but Zieba took three straight to lead 6-5. Levine forced a 6-6 tie, but Zieba took the tiebreaker and match. Levine falls to 14-11 and 2-4 versus dual match competition.
Northwestern closed the match with Shropshire’s 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory against Mateas on court two. The two were within a game throughout the first set and Shropshire pulled out the tiebreaker. In the second set, Shropshire gained the advantage he needed, turning a 4-3 lead into a 5-3 advantage. Mateas rallied to cut the deficit to 5-4, but Shropshire tallied the last victory. Mateas dips to 13-9 and 2-4 in dual action.
The last match between senior TJ Pura and Jason Seidman was halted with Seidman leading 7-6 (3), 4-5.
Duke returns to action next Sunday, February 12, with a home doubleheader. The Blue Devils host Tennessee at 1 p.m. and N.C. Central at 6.
No. 9 Northwestern 4, Duke 2
ebruary 5, 2017 at Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
1. Konrad Zieba/Sam Shropshire (NU) def. Catalin Mateas/Vincent Lin (DU) 6-3
2. Dominik Stary/Strong Kirchheimer (NU) vs. Nick Stachowiak/Spencer Furman (DU) 4-4, unfinished
3. Chris Ephron/Michael Lorenzini (NU) def. Robert Levine/Ryan Dickerson (DU) 6-2
1. #26 Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Vincent Lin (DU) 6-3, 6-1
2. Sam Shropshire (NU) def. Catalin Mateas (DU) 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
3. Konrad Zieba (NU) def. Robert Levine (DU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
4. Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. Dominik Stary (NU) 6-4, 6-2
5. Spencer Furman (DU) def. Ben Vandixhorn (NU) 6-3, 6-4
6. Jason Seidman (NU) vs. TJ Pura (DU) 7-6 (7-3), 4-5, unfinished
Northwestern 9-0; National ranking #9
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,5,4,3,2)
Official: John Coleman T-3:30 A-212