LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 38 Duke men’s tennis team wrapped up the regular season Friday at No. 39 Louisville, holding off the Cardinals in a tight 4-3 contest at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. Duke took the doubles point, but trailed 2-1 before answering with three consecutive singles victories to clinch the match. Senior TJ Pura completed his final regular season match by clinching the contest for Duke.
Sophomore Catalin Mateas started the singles comeback with a victory, his seventh in a row, while classmate Ryan Dickerson gave the Blue Devils the lead at 3-2, leading to Pura’s clincher. Dickerson has won six consecutive matches while Pura’s streak is up to eight. Pura ends the ACC season with an 11-0 record, tied for the most league wins in a year in program history. He clinched four of Duke’s eight ACC triumphs.
The Blue Devils complete the regular season with a 15-8 record and 8-4 ACC mark while Louisville dips to 19-7 and 6-5 in league action.
"This was a huge ACC road win," head coach Ramsey Smith said. "I am really happy for my guys. They dug in when things were tough and came through in the clutch against a very good Louisville team. We lost a few heartbreakers early in the season, but the guys have kept working and stuck together. Now it feels especially good to be on the other end of a few tight matches. We are peaking at the right time and looking forward to bringing this momentum into the ACC Championship."
Duke got off to a quick start in doubles as the No. 3 team of Mateas and Pura won 6-0 against Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff and Clement Filho. The Blue Devil pair improves to 7-3 overall and 6-3 in ACC action.
The Cardinals evened the doubles action on court one, where the No. 47 team of Sean Donohue and Parker Wynn defeated freshmen Spencer Furman and Nick Stachowiak, 6-3. Duke’s duo, ranked No. 22 this week, drops to 18-3 overall and 6-3 versus league foes.
With the action coming down to court two, sophomores Jason Lapidus and Dickerson got a late break for a 7-5 victory against George Hedley and Nicolas Rouanet. With the set tied at each point and Duke up 6-5, the Blue Devil pair trailed 30-0 before storming back to break and win the match. Dickerson and Lapidus up their mark to 9-6 overall and 5-6 in ACC play.
Louisville wasted little time evening the match at 1-1 overall as Wynn defeated No. 87 Furman 6-2, 6-2 on court two. Furman dips to 19-11 overall and 5-7 in ACC play.
The Cardinals then took their only lead of the afternoon on court three, where Rouanet defeated freshman Robert Levine 6-1, 6-2. Levine slips to 18-16 overall and 1-5 in league action.
Duke tied the match at 2-2 overall with Mateas’ seventh-straight victory, a 6-4, 6-2 triumph against No. 114 Morin-Kougoucheff on court one. Mateas, who is ranked No. 100 this week, took an early 3-0 advantage and kept the three-game lead at 4-1 and 5-2 before closing out for the win. The second set had Mateas again lead 3-0 and 4-1 en route to the win. Mateas evens his record on court one at 5-5, improves to 24-12 overall and sits at 8-3 in ACC matches.
The Blue Devils regained the lead at 3-2 with Dickerson’s 6-3, 6-4 victory against Brandon Lancaster on court six. Dickerson turned a 2-1 deficit in the opening set into a 5-2 advantage and held on. In the second set, Lancaster was able to take a 3-1 lead, but Dickerson rallied with three-straight games to go up 4-3. Dickerson took two of the final three games to complete the match. Dickerson extends his winning streak to six matches and ups his overall record to 21-6 with a 9-3 league mark.
Clinching the match was Pura with a 6-2, 7-6 (3) decision on court five against Filho. Pura followed a 2-2 tie with four straight wins to capture the first set. In the second set, Pura trailed 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 before ripping off three straight to go up 6-5. Filho answered to knot the set at 6-6, but Pura took the decisive tiebreaker. He is now 28-9 overall and 11-0 in ACC action. His 29 career ACC triumphs are tied for the sixth most by a Blue Devil.
The Cardinals tallied the match’s final point with Hedley taking a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 decision on court four versus Stachowiak. After dropping the first set, Stachowiak turned a 3-3 tie in the second set to the set win. Stachowiak held a one-game lead in the final set at 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 before Hedley took two games to go up 5-4. Stachowiak trailed 6-5 but could not force the tiebreaker. Stachowiak dips to 30-11 overall and 6-6 in league play.
Duke now awaits the ACC Championship bracket to come out Sunday. The event begins Wednesday in Rome, Ga.
No. 38 Duke 4, No. 39 Louisville 3
April 21, 2017 at Louisville, Ky. (Bass-Rudd Tennis Center)
1. #100 Catalin Mateas (DUKE) def. #114 C. Morin-Kougoucheff (LOU) 6-4, 6-2
2. Parker Wynn (LOU) def. #87 Spencer Furman (DUKE) 6-2, 6-2
3. Nicolas Rouanet (LOU) def. Robert Levine (DUKE) 6-1, 6-2
4. George Hedley (LOU) def. Nick Stachowiak (DUKE) 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
5. TJ Pura (DUKE) def. Clement Filho (LOU) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
6. Ryan Dickerson (DUKE) def. Brandon Lancaster (LOU) 6-3, 6-4
1. #47 Sean Donohue/Parker Wynn (LOU) def. #22 Spencer Furman/Nick Stachowiak (DUKE) 6-3
2. Jason Lapidus/Ryan Dickerson (DUKE) def. George Hedley/Nicolas Rouanet (LOU) 7-5
3. Catalin Mateas/TJ Pura (DUKE) def. C. Morin-Kougoucheff/Clement Filho (LOU) 6-0
Duke 15-8, 8-4 ACC; National ranking #38
Louisville 19-7, 6-5 ACC; National ranking #39
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,3,1,6,5,4)