DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s tennis team will take on its second top-five opponent within a week Sunday when the Blue Devils welcome No. 2 Wake Forest to Durham for a 1 p.m. first serve. Duke traveled to No. 5 North Carolina on Tuesday and suffered a 6-1 setback while the Demon Deacons opened ACC action Friday against the Tar Heels, coming away with a 4-3 victory.
“It’s a neat stretch that we have here with a lot of top teams,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “Wake Forest is one of the top teams in the country. I’m excited to play them at home, where we’re undefeated. We’ve played really well at home. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’ll be ready.”
Sunday’s match will be a Royal Blue Club event. Early-arriving fans will receive a yellow, Duke tennis keychain. All regular season men’s tennis home events at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center are free to the public. General public parking is available in the Blue Zone parking lot off of Duke University Road.
Wake Forest Series History
The Blue Devils and Demon Deacons will meet for 102nd time Sunday with Duke leading the series 85-16 … The Blue Devils’ three-match winning streak was halted last April, when Wake Forest earned a 6-1 victory in Winston-Salem … Duke has won nine of the last 11 matches against the Demon Deacons after dropping three of four … The Blue Devils have won the last six meetings in Durham, including a 4-3 triumph March 22, 2015 … Wake Forest’s last road victory was by a 5-2 score April 4, 2007 … In their dual match singles careers, junior Nicolas Alvarez is 3-0 and senior TJ Pura is 2-1 … This fall, Alvarez defeated Wake Forest’s Christian Seraphim 7-6 (10), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the ITA Carolina Regional … In the semifinals of the event Alvarez took on No. 7 Skander Mansouri of the Demon Deacons and fell 7-6 (4), 6-2 … Sophomore Catalin Mateas and freshman Nick Stachowiak each recorded wins against Wake Forest during the Duke James Bonk Invitational as Mateas defeated Sean Hill 6-3, 6-1 and Stachowiak No. 88 Maksim Kan 6-4, 7-5.
Scouting the Demon Deacons
Wake Forest enters Sunday’s match fresh off a 4-3 victory against No. 2 North Carolina … The squad has four singles players ranked within the top 80 and is led by sophomore Petros Chrysochos, who is ranked No. 2, with an 18-3 overall record and 9-2 mark on court one … He is 14-3 against ranked opponents … No. 5 Mansouri, a junior, has filled the No. 2 position, going 18-6 overall, 9-4 versus ranked foes and 6-4 in the second slot … Seraphim, a redshirt junior standing No. 37 this week, has posted a 19-7 overall mark and 6-5 dual match ledger, playing all but one match on court four … Freshman Borna Gojo rounds on the ranked players, checking in at No. 76 … He is 9-2 overall, all in dual matches, and 8-2 on court three … In doubles, Mansouri and Seraphim are ranked No. 2 and own a 23-3 overall record with a 10-2 mark at No. 1 … Gojo and redshirt freshman Alan Gadjiev are 6-3 at No. 2 while Chrysochos and sophomore Dennis Uspensky are 8-2 at No. 3.
Smith’s Take on the Strength of the ACC
“It fits into my philosophy of trying to play the best,” Smith said. “Out of conference, we try and play some of the best. The conference, we have no control over, but we’re lucky that we have so many great teams. I really feel like it helps us in the postseason, already being exposed to so many top teams. It makes you tougher. I remember when I was playing we kind of rolled through the ACC every year and didn’t have too many tough matches. Then when we got to the NCAA Tournament, we were tested and teams from the SEC had been battling every week. Now we’re more like the SEC used to be and we’re in tough battles every week. It’s definitely a good thing for player development and toughening us up for the postseason.”
Strong Against the State
A year ago, Duke went 5-2 against foes from the state of North Carolina, losing matches to only North Carolina and Wake Forest … This year the Blue Devils are off to a 3-1 start versus in-state squads, defeating Elon, N.C. Central and Charlotte and falling to No. 5 North Carolina … In the last four-plus years, Duke is a combined 22-8 (.733 winning percentage) versus in-state opponents … Duke is 22-1 (.957 winning percentage) during Smith’s eight-plus years against North Carolina schools that are not in the ACC … The Blue Devils’ lone loss was a 4-3 setback to Elon on January 17, 2014, in the season-opening match.
Consecutive Top-Five Foes
Tuesday at No. 5 North Carolina and Sunday against No. 2 Wake Forest will give Duke back-to-back matches against top-five opponents … It is the first time the Blue Devils have played consecutive contests versus top-five foes since February 16-17, 2013, at the ITA National Indoors in Seattle, Wash., against No. 1 Virginia and No. 5 Pepperdine.
Stachowiak Named ACC Player of the Week
After recording the highest ranked win of his career and remaining unbeaten in dual matches, Stachowiak was named the ACC Player of the Week on Tuesday morning … It is the first league weekly honor of his career … Last Saturday at Virginia Tech, Stachowiak picked up singles and doubles victories to help Duke open the ACC season with a 6-1 win against the Hokies … Stachowiak earned the highest-ranked singles win of his career, topping No. 49 Jai Corbett 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 on court one.
Stachowiak Nearing the Duke Record Charts
Stachowiak owns 21 overall doubles wins this season, two shy of a spot on the Duke freshman top-10 chart … Stachowiak’s 25 singles wins are five away from a place on the Blue Devil freshman top-10 list.
A Successful Pairing
Stachowiak and freshman Spencer Furman have been strong in doubles, posting a 13-0 record and 8-0 mark in dual matches … The duo’s 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.
What a Difference a Year Makes
During the 2015-16 dual match season, Duke posted a 9-16 record (.360 winning percentage) on court two … Already this year, the Blue Devils are 8-4 (.667 winning percentage) at No. 2 … Stachowiak (three), Mateas (two) and freshman Robert Levine (two) all have multiple victories on court two this season while only Mateas (eight) did last season.
Nearly Matching His Freshman Year in Singles Already
Sophomore Ryan Dickerson has nearly matched his production in singles from his freshman year already this season … During the 2015-16 campaign, Dickerson finished with a 12-8 singles mark and is up to 12-4 already this year … Dickerson owns three match-clinching victories this year and had three a year ago … As a freshman in doubles, he finished with a 10-10 mark and is already 8-5 this season.
The First Court Two Doubles Loss
Duke entered Tuesday’s match at North Carolina with an 8-0 record on court two in doubles … Dickerson and sophomore Jason Lapidus suffered a 6-2 setback to William Blumberg and Blaine Boyden on court two Tuesday … Despite the loss, Duke is a combined 15-3 (.833 winning percentage) in dual match doubles on courts one and two … The Blue Devils are 7-2 (.778 winning percentage) on court one and 8-1 at No. 2 (.889 winning percentage).
Blue Devils in the ITA Rankings
The Oracle/ITA rankings updated on Tuesday with Alvarez checking in at No. 17 and Stachowiak earning the highest ranking of his career, at No. 94 … Stachowiak earned his only other career ranking February 8, at No. 116 … As a team, Duke is No. 43 for the second-straight week.
Last Time Out
The Duke men’s tennis team faced its highest-ranked opponent of the season at No. 5 North Carolina on Tuesday and suffered a 6-1 setback at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center … Duke dropped the doubles point for just the third time this season, falling on courts two and three … UNC earned the first victory on court two, where Blumberg and Boyden topped Dickerson and Lapidus, 6-2 … The Tar Heels finished the point on court three with a 6-3 victory by Anu Kodali and Ronnie Schneider against Mateas and Pura … In singles, North Carolina pushed the lead to 2-0 as No. 94 Stachowiak suffered his first loss of the dual match season, falling 6-4, 6-3 to No. 61 Blumberg on court two … Extending the Tar Heel advantage to 3-0 was Arturo Schmidt at No. 6 as he topped Lapidus 7-5, 6-0 … Duke got its point on court four from Pura, who downed Jack Murray 6-3, 6-3 … North Carolina clinched the match on court one, where No. 19 Schneider downed Mateas 6-3, 6-4 … The Tar Heels added a fifth point on court three, where Simon Soendergaard fought off Furman 7-6 (3), 2-6, 1-0 (8) … North Carolina tacked on its sixth point, and last of the match, from Boyden, who downed Dickerson 7-6 (5), 5-7, 1-0 (2) on court five.
Duke heads west for a spring break match at No. 13 UCLA on Thursday, March 16 … First serve is set for 5:30 p.m. ET … The match will be Duke’s fifth on the road against a top-20 club.