DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s tennis team returned home and returned to the win column Sunday with a doubleheader sweep at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The Blue Devils blanked Tennessee 4-0 and N.C. Central 7-0 as sophomore Ryan Dickerson clinched both matches. Freshman Nick Stachowiak picked up two singles wins and has captured 11 straight decisions.
Duke remains undefeated at home at 5-0 this year and improves its overall record to 5-3. The Blue Devils have won 35 of their last 42 home indoor matches (.833 winning percentage).
“That was a great team effort,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “I felt like we had a really good week of preparation without a Friday match. We really prepared hard.”
Against Tennessee, Duke came through with a strong doubles effort, winning on courts two and three. Starting off the performance was sophomore Catalin Mateas and freshman Robert Levine claiming a 6-3 triumph on court two against the No. 29 team of Timo Stodder and Scott Jones. Mateas and Levine were broken at 1-1 to fall behind 2-1, but then won four straight to take a commanding 5-2 lead before closing out the match. It was the first dual match of the year for Mateas and Levine, who are now 3-4 overall.
”Robert did an exceptional job on court two today,” Smith noted. “He hasn’t been playing great in doubles recently, but he really stepped up. That was a big match for us today.”
The Blue Devils finished the point with a 6-4 victory by sophomores Dickerson and Jason Lapidus over Sunay Bhat and Srdjan Jakovljevic on court three. Dickerson and Lapidus broke in the first game and led 2-0 and 3-1. Tennessee got it to a game deficit three times, including a 5-4, but could never break to force a tie as Duke held on for the win.
“Ryan and Jason were just a bundle of energy,” Smith said. “They kind of set the tone for the entire dual match. They played very aggressively. Jason had been out of the lineup for almost two weeks and has worked really hard to get himself back in. He played his best match today.”
The match on court one was stopped with the No. 24 team of Jack Schipanski and Luis Valero leading freshman Spencer Furman and Stachowiak, 5-4.
“We started off so well in doubles,” Smith added. “Tennessee always has good doubles. I knew that would be our toughest point. I thought we came out with a lot of energy and aggressiveness. That was huge for us to get that first point of the match.”
Once in singles, Duke made it a 2-0 lead as Furman raced off the court with a 6-2, 6-1 win on court four against Jakovljevic. Furman led 2-0 in the opening set and Jakovljevic got a game before Furman won three straight to go up 5-1 and take control. He lost just two games in the rest of the match.
The Blue Devils got their final two points within minutes of each other on courts two and six with victories from Stachowiak and Dickerson.
Stachowiak made it a 3-0 lead on court two, where he topped Valero 6-3, 6-3. In the opening set, Stachowiak trailed 2-0 before ripping off six of the final seven games. In the second set, Stachowiak led 3-0 and 4-1 before finishing off the match.
“Nick just wins wherever we put him in the lineup,” Smith added. “He has played in almost every spot of the lineup. It’s pretty cool that you can just see his confidence building with every match. He’s so focused. He does a really good job of not letting the outside things bother him. He’s just getting better. I’m really proud of what he’s done so far. He has the mentality where he’s just going to work and get better.”
“I’m just taking it one match at a time,” Stachowiak said. “I’m just going out there focused on myself and playing my game. That has been working so far. I started off a little nervous in this one playing on court two against a good team in Tennessee. After that slow start I just kind of pumped myself up a little bit. It helped to get [the first set] back to within one game. From there I got the momentum and carried it through.”
Dickerson came through with the final point of the first match, topping Luca Wiedenmann 6-2, 6-3 on court six. Dickerson led 2-0 and then turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 advantage before finishing off the opening set. The second set had Dickerson convert a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 lead. The two exchanged the next four games with Dickerson leading 5-3. He served out for the match.
“That was a great effort by Ryan,” Smith said. “He hadn’t played a singles match since we were in Hawai’i. He dealt with a little bit of a shoulder injury and has worked really hard to get back. It didn’t surprise me at all the result today because he has been playing unbelievably well in practice. Still, he hadn’t been out there in a dual match situation this year. I think doubles really helped him loosen up. That’s a hard thing to do to not be out there and then be thrown in that sixth spot. He handled it as well as possible and clinched the match for us.”
Against N.C. Central, Duke took the doubles point with wins again on courts two and three. Lapidus and Dickerson defeated Davide Callegari and Pablo Juez Torres 6-0 on court two with Levine and senior TJ Pura topping Brooks Campbell and Theo Kontopoulos 6-1 on court three. Neither Duke doubles team had played together prior to today.
Furman and Stachowiak led Gabriel Cucalon and Maksym Konovalov 4-2 on court one when the match was halted.
In singles, Levine was quickly off court two with a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Kontopoulos to give Duke a 2-0 lead. Levine improves to 15-11 overall and 3-4 in dual matches.
Pushing the Blue Devil advantage to 3-0 was Furman at No. 3 as he topped Konovalov 6-0, 6-1 on court three. Furman lifts his record to 12-3 and 6-2 in dual matches.
Dickerson clinched his second match of the afternoon, this time from the fifth position, where he downed Juez Torres 6-1, 6-0. Dickerson lifts his record to 9-3 overall and 2-0 in dual matches.
Duke upped its lead to 5-0 on court six as Lapidus downed Campbell 6-2, 6-1. The match was Lapidus’ first in dual action this year.
The sixth point for Duke came at No. 4, where Pura defeated Callegari 6-3, 6-0. Pura raises his record to 16-7 and 5-1 against dual competition.
Stachowiak put the final point on the board for the Blue Devils with a 6-2, 3-6, 1-0 (5) victory versus Cucalon on court one. Stachowiak led 3-0 in the opening set before Cucalon closed the gap to 3-2. Stachowiak took the last three to win the set. The second set had Cucalon get out to 4-0 and 5-1 leads and hold on for the win. With the overall match already determined, the two played a first-to-10 tiebreaker of a third set. Cucalon led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 before Stachowiak stormed back with six straight points to take an 8-4 lead. Cucalon got one back, but Stachowiak closed out for the victory. Stachowiak is now 22-4 and 8-0 in dual matches. Stachowiak has won 11 consecutive matches, the longest streak for a Blue Devil since Pura’s 14 from November 1, 2013 to April 26, 2014.
Duke has more than a week off before returning to action Saturday, February 25, with a doubleheader against Coastal Carolina and Charlotte. The matches are slated to be the first of the year at Ambler Tennis Stadium. First serve is set for 10 a.m. versus Coastal Carolina and 3 p.m. against Charlotte.
Duke 4, Tennessee 0
February 12, 2017 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
1. Nick Stachowiak/Spencer Furman (DU) vs. #24 Jack Schipanski/Luis Valero (TENN) 4-5, unfinished
2. Catalin Mateas/Robert Levine (DU) def. #29 Timo Stodder/Scott Jones (TENN) 6-3
3. Ryan Dickerson/Jason Lapidus (DU) def. Sunay Bhat/Srdjan Jakovljevic (TENN) 6-4
1. Catalin Mateas (DU) vs. #118 Timo Stodder (TENN) 6-7 (5-7), 2-5, unfinished
2. #116 Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. Luis Valero (TENN) 6-3, 6-3
3. Robert Levine (DU) vs. Scott Jones (TENN) 3-6, 5-4, unfinished
4. Spencer Furman (DU) def. Srdjan Jakovljevic (TENN) 6-2, 6-1
5. TJ Pura (DU) vs. Jack Schipanski (TENN) 6-3, 3-4, unfinished
6. Ryan Dickerson (DU) def. Luca Wiedenmann (TENN) 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,2,6)
Official: Matthew Dolge T-2:05 A-211
Duke 7, N.C. Central 0
February 12, 2017 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
1. Nick Stachowiak/Spencer Furman (DU) vs. CUCALON, Gabriel/KONOVALOV, Maksym (NCCU) 4-2, unfinished
2. Jason Lapidus/Ryan Dickerson (DU) def. CALLEGARI, Davide/JUEZ TORRES, Pablo (NCCU) 6-0
3. Robert Levine/TJ Pura (DU) def. CAMPBELL, Brooks/KONTOPOULOS, Theo (NCCU) 6-1
1. #116 Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. CUCALON, Gabriel (NCCU) 6-2, 3-6, 1-0 (10-5)
2. Robert Levine (DU) def. KONTOPOULOS, Theo (NCCU) 6-0, 6-0
3. Spencer Furman (DU) def. KONOVALOV, Maksym (NCCU) 6-0, 6-1
4. TJ Pura (DU) def. CALLEGARI, Davide (NCCU) 6-3, 6-0
5. Ryan Dickerson (DU) def. JUEZ TORRES, Pablo (NCCU) 6-1, 6-0
6. Jason Lapidus (DU) def. CAMPBELL, Brooks (NCCU) 6-2, 6-1
N.C. Central 0-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (2,3,5,6,4,1)
Official: Matthew Dolge T-1:38 A-211