BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Duke men’s tennis team pushed its winning streak to five matches Saturday and began the ACC campaign with a victory by downing Virginia Tech 6-1 inside the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center. The Blue Devils, ranked No. 43 this week, got their first road win of the season and have won eight of their last 10, 18 of their last 21 and 22 of their last 26 ACC openers.
Senior TJ Pura kicked off his final league season with his first match clinched of the season, coming back to defeat No. 97 Henrik Korsgaard 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 on court four. The triumph was Pura’s first of the season against a ranked foe. Virginia Tech won the first singles match to even the overall score at 1-1 before Duke marched off five singles wins to finish the match.
“Very proud of the guys and this win today,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “It was a total team effort. All six of our guys were locked in from the start of doubles through the end of singles. I love the team toughness and grittiness we showed today. It’s nice to get a road win to kick off our ACC season.”
The Blue Devils began with a 1-0 lead Saturday by capturing the doubles point for the fifth straight match and ninth time in 11 contests this season. Sophomore Catalin Mateas and Pura picked up the first triumph, downing Korsgaard and Jason Kros 6-4 on court three. With the match even at 4-4, Mateas and Pura tallied the last two games for the victory. Mateas and Pura were playing together for the first time this season.
Duke’s duo of freshmen Nick Stachowiak and Spencer Furman finished the point, defeating Adam Asaba and Jai Corbett 6-4 on court one. Stachowiak and Furman trailed 3-2 before going on a three-game run to take a 5-3 advantage. The Virginia Tech pair got a game back but could not even the match. Stachowiak and Furman up their overall record to 13-0 and are 8-0 in dual matches. The 13-match winning streak is the longest for a Duke pair since Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler won 16 straight from March 5 - May 16, 2013.
Virginia Tech responded with the first singles win as Freddy Mesmer defeated Lapidus 6-4, 7-6 (3) on court six. Lapidus was even at 2-2 in the opening set before falling behind 4-3 and having Mesmer take two of the final three games. In the second set, Lapidus fought back from a 3-2 deficit to take a 4-3 lead. The set was even at 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 before going to the tiebreaker, which Mesmer won. Lapidus was playing just his sixth singles match of the year and second dual match, falling to 1-5 overall and 1-1 in dual action.
Duke started its march of five straight singles wins on court three, where Furman defeated Harper 7-5, 6-4. Furman trailed 2-1 in the first set before gaining one-game leads at 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4. Harper evened the set at 5-5, but Furman won the last two games. The second set was even at 3-3 before Furman inched out to a two-game lead at 5-3. Harper got a game back but could not even the set as Furman won the match. Furman pushed his winning streak to six straight matches and is now 15-3 overall and 9-2 in dual action.
Making it a 3-1 Duke lead was Mateas on court two, where he downed Ribeiro 6-2, 6-4. Mateas pushed a 3-2 lead in the first set into the win as he won the last three games. The second set had Mateas up 4-3 and win two of the final three games for the victory. Mateas improves to 16-9 overall and 5-4 against dual competition.
Pura provided the clinching point on court four with his 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory versus No. 97 Korsgaard. Pura was tied 2-2 in the opening set before Korsgaard won three straight to take control. Pura stormed back in the second set, leading 4-0 and 5-1 before finishing it and forcing the deciding third. Pura led 2-0 and 4-1 in the final set en route to the victory. Pura ups his mark to 18-8 and 7-2 in dual matches.
The fifth point was provided by Stachowiak, who also picked up the highest ranked win of his career, topping No. 49 Corbett 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 on court one. The win was Stachowiak’s 14th straight, the longest by a Blue Devil since Pura’s run of 14 consecutive decisions from November 1, 2013 - April 25, 2014. The first set was even at points one through four before Stachowiak won the final two games. The second set had Corbett take 3-1 and 4-2 leads. Stachowiak got it down to 4-3, but Corbett won two of the last three games to force a third set. There, Stachowiak trailed 2-0 and 3-1 before winning consecutive games to even the set at 3-3. The action was tied at 4-4 and 5-5 before Stachowiak held and broke for the win. Stachowiak is 25-4 overall, 11-0 in dual matches and 2-0 on court one.
Dickerson finished the day for Duke, defeating Kros 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) on court five. The opening set had Dickerson behind 3-1 before evening the set at 3-3. It was tied at the next three and headed to the tiebreaker, which Dickerson won. Dickerson trailed again early in the second set, going down 2-1 before turning it into a 3-2 lead. He led 4-3 before Kros took a 5-4 advantage. Dickerson fought back and went ahead 6-5, but Kros forced the tiebreaker. Kros went ahead 3-1 in the tiebreaker, but Dickerson rallied with six of the final seven points for the win. Dickerson has won seven straight matches and is 12-3 overall with a 5-0 mark in dual action.
Duke travels down the road to Chapel Hill for a 3 p.m. Tuesday match with No. 6 North Carolina.
No. 43 Duke 6, Virginia Tech 1
March 4, 2017 at Blacksburg, Va. (Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center)
1. Nick Stachowiak/Spencer Furman (DU) def. Abraham Asaba/Jai Corbett (VT) 6-4
2. Mitch Harper/Alexandre Ribeiro (VT) vs. Ryan Dickerson/Jason Lapidus (DU) 4-4, unfinished
3. Catalin Mateas/TJ Pura (DU) def. Henrik Korsgaard/Jason Kros (VT) 6-4
1. Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. #49 Jai Corbett (VT) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
2. Catalin Mateas (DU) def. Alexandre Ribeiro (VT) 6-2, 6-4
3. Spencer Furman (DU) def. Mitch Harper (VT) 7-5, 6-4
4. TJ Pura (DU) def. #97 Henrik Korsgaard (VT) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Ryan Dickerson (DU) def. Jason Kros (VT) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4)
6. Freddy Mesmer (VT) def. Jason Lapidus (DU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
Duke 8-3, 1-0 ACC; National ranking #43
Virginia Tech 4-6, 0-1 ACC
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,3,2,4,1,5)