ATLANTA, Ga. – The No. 44 Duke men’s tennis team fell to Georgia Tech 4-3 in a thrilling conference dual on Sunday afternoon at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
Duke fell to 7-9 overall and 1-4 in ACC play. Georgia Tech improved to 8-6 overall and 3-2 in ACC action.
In doubles play, the Georgia Tech duo of Andrew Li and Zummy Bauer defeated senior Catalin Mateas and sophomore Sean Sculley on court three, 6-1. On court one, Carlos Divar and Phillip Gresk earned a 6-3 win over junior Nick Stachowiak and senior Jason Lapidus, clinching the doubles point.
The Yellow Jackets ended Duke’s streak of double’s points clinched at three. Juniors Spencer Furman and Robert Levine were winning 4-3 over Chris Yun and Joseph Gandolfo on court two before play stopped.
In singles action, No. 114 Furman tied the match up for the Blue Devils with a 6-1, 6-2 court one victory over Gresk. Mateas finished quickly after Furman, defeating Li 6-1, 6-3 on court three to give Duke the lead. Senior Vincent Lin dropped his first set on court six 6-4, but answered with a 6-2 set two victory over Brandon Freestone, forcing a decisive third set. Lin prevailed, winning 6-1 and giving Duke a 3-1 lead.
Yun pulled the Yellow Jackets closer to the Blue Devils with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 court four win over Sculley. In a battle of ranked opponents at the number one position, No. 30 Divar defeated No. 41 Stachowiak 7-5, 7-6 (7-2), setting up a decisive court five matchup between Levine and Pablo Schelcher.
Schelcher took the first set 6-3, but Levine responded with a 6-2 set two win, forcing a third set. Levine went up 4-3 in the third and 5-4 later on, however, Schelcher responded by tying the match up at 5-5. Levine answered, winning the next game to go up 6-5. Schelcher knotted the set back up at six all, and the match went into a third set tiebreaker.
After multiple ties, Schelcher and Levine were tied at 9-9, with Schelcher serving. Schelcher earned a point to go up 10-9 and served for match point. Schelcher pulled out the victory for Georgia Tech, as Levine hit a forehand long, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (11-9).
“I feel for our guys,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “It was a great team effort to bounce back from the doubles point, and we competed great to put ourselves in a position to win. I’m proud of the team and Bob there at the end.”
“I felt confident with him being the decider,” said Smith on Levine’s set three tie breaker. “Bob left it all on the court and that is all you can ask for.”
Duke returns home after three-straight matches on Friday as they play host to Miami. First serve is set for 5 p.m. at the Ambler Tennis Stadium.