KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Third sets were the name of the game at the Goodfriend Tennis Center on Friday night with the Duke men’s tennis team falling in two of them to enable Tennessee to come away with a 4-1 victory. The setback was the 19th-ranked Blue Devils’ first of the year on the road.
Duke (4-2) and Tennessee (8-2) were even at 1-1 before four matches headed to third sets. The Volunteers bounced back after dropping a trio of those second sets to capture two third sets to secure the victory. The Blue Devils got a straight-set win by sophomore Nick Stachowiak, who extended his winning streak to four, and led a pair of three-set contests that were abandoned when Tennessee clinched the overall victory.
For just the second time this season, Duke lost the doubles point with Tennessee winning on courts one and two. On one, freshman Sean Sculley and Stachowiak were broken at 1-1 by Preston Touliatos and Luis Valero to go down 3-1. The Duke duo was never able to retie the score and fell 6-4. Sculley and Stachowiak fall to 8-5 overall and 3-3 in dual matches.
Tennessee then wrenched away the deciding match with a break by Timo Stodder and Scott Jones against juniors Jason Lapidus and Ryan Dickerson in the final game on court two. The contest was even at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before Lapidus and Dickerson broke to take a 4-3 lead. The Volunteers answered immediately with a break and hold to lead 5-4. The set was even at 5-5, but with Lapidus and Dickerson trailing 6-5, Tennessee got the break for the 7-5 win. Lapidus and Dickerson fall to 2-3 overall, all in dual matches.
The Blue Devils tied the match at 1-1 with Stachowiak downing Adam Walton 6-4, 6-3 on court three. With the first set tied 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4, Stachowiak broke and held for the win. In the second set, Stachowiak took a 3-1 lead to take control. Walton got the deficit to 5-3, but Stachowiak closed out for the win. Stachowiak is now 15-4 overall and 4-1 in dual matches.
Tennessee regained the lead at 2-1 with Nicaise Muamba defeating Dickerson 6-4, 6-4 on court five. In the opening set, Dickerson was broken at 2-2 to trail 3-2 and never got closer than a game the rest of the set. The second set had Dickerson get broken to trail 4-3, but he answered immediately with a break to knot the set at 4-4. Muamba rallied with a break and hold to end the match. Dickerson falls to 10-5 overall and 3-2 in dual action.
Jones extended Tennessee’s lead to 3-1 with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory against sophomore Robert Levine on court six. With a 4-4 tie in the opening set, Jones held and broke to end the set. In the second set, the two were even throughout and headed to the tiebreaker in which Levine came away with the win, leading 3-0 and 5-1 before finishing it off. The third set had Jones break in the first game to lead 2-0. Levine cut it to 2-1, but Jones won the last four to clinch the match. Levine is now 5-2 overall and 1-2 in dual matches.
Seconds later, Valero gave Tennessee the 4-1 final as he came back for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win against Sculley on court four. Sculley used a break in the final game of the first set to win 6-4 after it was knotted at one through four. In the second set, Sculley was broken in his second service game to fall behind 2-1. He never got the set closer than one game the rest of the way. In the third set, Sculley was again broken in his second service game and Valero ran off the final five games for the match. Sculley dips to 11-5 overall and 3-2 in dual matches.
Duke returns home for a Sunday doubleheader against Kentucky and N.C. Central. First serve with the Wildcats is set for 1 p.m. while the contest against the Eagles will begin at 6 p.m.
Tennessee 4, #20 Duke 1
February 9, 2018 at Knoxville, Tenn. (Goodfriend Tennis Center)
1. Preston Touliatos/Luis Valero (TENN) def. Nick Stachowiak/Sean Sculley (DU) 6-4
2. Timo Stodder/Scott Jones (TENN) def. Ryan Dickerson/Jason Lapidus (DU) 7-5
3. Andrew Rogers/Nicaise Muamba (TENN) vs. Nicolas Alvarez/Catalin Mateas (DU) 6-6, unfinished
1. #53 Nicolas Alvarez (DU) vs. #18 Timo Stodder (TENN) 7-6 (2), 3-6, 5-3, unfinished
2. Catalin Mateas (DU) vs. Preston Touliatos (TENN) 1-6, 7-5, 5-1, unfinished
3. Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. Adam Walton (TEN) 6-4, 6-3
4. Luis Valero (TENN) def. Sean Sculley (DU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
5. Nicaise Muamba (TENN) def. Ryan Dickerson (DU) 6-4, 6-4
6. Scott Jones (TENN) def. Robert Levine (DU) 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1
Duke 4-2; National ranking #20
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (3, 5, 6, 4)