TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A late break in doubles and three tiebreakers in singles first sets went the way of Florida State as the Seminoles defeated the No. 22 Duke men’s tennis team 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. The No. 11 Seminoles led 3-0 before Duke got its point from sophomore Nick Stachowiak with an upset of No. 31 Guy Iradukunda on court two.
Stachowiak’s win gives him a team-best 25 singles triumphs and makes him 3-1 versus ranked opponents this season. Iradukunda is the highest-ranked opponent Stachowiak has defeated in his career. Duke (15-12, 6-6 ACC) now awaits its seed in this week’s ACC Championship.
A tight doubles point quickly turned in Florida State’s favor thanks to a break with the Seminoles taking matches on courts three and two. Florida State earned the first decision with a 6-4 win by Terrance Whitehurst and Jose Gracia against juniors Ryan Dickerson and Jason Lapidus on court three. With a 2-2 tie in the match, Florida State broke and held to take a 4-2 advantage. Duke had the deficit at one game at 4-3 and 5-4, but could not force the tie. Dickerson and Lapidus slip to 10-6 and 4-2 in ACC play.
The top court had Duke even the doubles action with redshirt junior Nicolas Alvarez and junior Catalin Mateas holding off the No. 48 team of Iradukunda and Alex Knaff, 6-4. Alvarez and Mateas took a 4-0 lead before Florida State got a game. The Blue Devil duo was up 5-1 before Iradukunda and Knaff claimed three straight to trail just 5-4. Mateas and Alvarez held on the last game to improve to 8-4 overall, all in dual action, and 5-2 versus league competition. The Blue Devil duo is 4-0 against nationally ranked opponents and has won its last five matches. Mateas and Alvarez are the first Duke duo to win four consecutive matches against ranked foes since Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler won 13 consecutive from March 10 through May 16, 2013.
All attention shifted to court two, where Aziz Dougaz and Lucas Poullain used a late break to down freshman Sean Sculley and Stachowiak, 7-5. Neither side led by more than a game until Florida State turned a 5-4 deficit into three consecutive wins and the match with a hold, break and hold. Sculley and Stachowiak slip to 12-12 overall, 7-10 in dual matches and 2-4 versus conference foes.
Dougaz picked up Florida State’s next point and pushed its advantage to 2-0 overall as he defeated Alvarez 7-6 (3), 7-5 on court one. In the opening set, No. 11 Alvarez turned a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 advantage, only to have No. 46 Dougaz capture four straight games to go ahead 6-5. Alvarez forced the tiebreaker, but Dougaz won it to swipe the first set. In the second set, neither side led by more than a game until Dougaz used a late hold and break for the match. Alvarez slips to 14-6 overall, 9-4 in dual matches and 5-4 in ACC competition.
The Seminoles pushed the lead to 3-0 on court four, where Gracia downed sophomore Robert Levine 7-6 (7), 6-4. Neither side was ahead by more than a game during the opening set and pushed into an extended tiebreaker, with Gracia eventually pulling away to win by two points. The second set had Gracia flip a 2-2 tie into a 4-2 lead. Levine answered with the next two games to knot the set at 4-4, but Gracia took the final two for the match. Levine is now 14-9 overall, 11-8 in dual matches and 7-3 in ACC contests.
Duke got its Stachowiak point with a 7-5, 7-5 victory against Iradukunda on court two. Stachowiak faced late deficits in both sets before coming back for wins. He trailed 2-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 in the opening set before rattling off four consecutive games. Iradukunda took a seemingly insurmountable lead of 5-1 in the second set, but Stachowiak roared back with the final six games for the match. Stachowiak ups his overall record to 25-11 and is 14-8 in dual action and 6-5 versus league foes.
Florida State tallied the clinching point on court six with a 6-4, 6-3 win by Chase Wood against Sculley. The first set was tied at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4 before a break and hold by Wood ended it. In the second set, Wood led 3-0 before Sculley responded with three consecutive wins to knot it at 3-3. Wood had the reply, taking the final three games for the clincher. Sculley falls to 17-12 overall, 9-9 in dual matches and 5-3 in league competition.
Duke now readies for the ACC Championship, which begins Wednesday at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C. The Blue Devils’ seed for the event is to be determined.
#11 Florida State 4, #22 Duke 1
April 22, 2018 at Tallahassee, Fla. (Scott Speicher Tennis Center)
1. Catalin Mateas/Nicolas Alvarez (DU) def. #48 Guy Iradukunda/Alex Knaff (FS) 6-4
2. Aziz Dougaz/Lucas Poullain (FS) def. #87 Sean Sculley/Nick Stachowiak (DU) 7-5
3. Jose Gracia/Terrance Whitehurst (FS) def. Jason Lapidus/Ryan Dickerson (DU) 6-4
1. #46 Aziz Dougaz (FS) def. #11 Nicolas Alvarez (DU) 7-6 (7-3), 7-5
2. Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. #31 Guy Iradukunda (FS) 7-5, 7-5
3. #41 Lucas Poullain (FS) vs. #100 Catalin Mateas (DU) 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 4-2, unfinished
4. Jose Gracia (FS) def. Robert Levine (DU) 7-6 (9-7), 6-4
5. Alex Knaff (FS) vs. Spencer Furman (DU) 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, unfinished
6. Chase Wood (FS) def. Sean Sculley (DU) 6-4, 6-3
Duke 15-12, 6-6 ACC; National ranking #22
Florida State University 26-3, 10-2 ACC; National ranking #11
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,4,2,6)