ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Following a tough loss at No. 14 Tennessee Friday night, the 13th-ranked Duke men’s tennis team rebounded Sunday with a 7-0 sweep of No. 31 Michigan at the Wolverines’ Varsity Tennis Center.
The Blue Devils improved to 5-3 on the spring heading into next week’s ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Houston, Texas.
“This was an important match for us to bounce back from Tennessee on Friday and heading into Team Indoors next week,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “That was the best doubles point we’ve played this season and it was great to get a sweep on the road against a really solid team.”
Michigan surrendered the doubles point for the first time this season, as Duke picked up victories at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions to claim the point. After the Blue Devils went up a break early on all three courts, the tandem of senior Fred Saba and junior Raphael Hemmeler finished first with a 6-2 defeat of the Wolverines’ Alex Petrone and Michael Zhu on court two. Sophomore Michael Redlicki and junior Jason Tahir then pulled out a 6-5 (4) win in the No. 1 matchup to give Duke a 1-0 lead in the match.
The two teams split first sets across the six courts in singles, but the Blue Devils won three matches in straight sets to secure the win. Sophomore Josh Levine, the 77th-ranked player in the ITA poll, was first off the courts with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Wolverines’ Wong at the No. 5 spot. Fifty-second ranked Tahir followed, topping Bernstein by scores of 6-0, 6-4.
Hemmeler then clinched the match from the No. 4 position, taking a key second-set tiebreaker to post a 6-3, 6-5 (4) victory against Buzzi of Michigan.
Duke closed out singles play in similar fashion, as Saba rallied from a first-set tiebreak loss to defeat Petrone on court two and freshman TJ Pura collected his second dual match win in as many appearances, outlasting Franks in three sets on court six. Redlicki, the 29th-ranked player in the country, capped the sweep by edging Vlad Stefan in the No. 1 contest, 4-6, 6-4, 6-5 (3).
Up next, the Blue Devils will join 15 other teams in Houston for the 2014 ITA National Team Indoors. The tournament, which runs Feb. 14-17, will be hosted by Texas A&M at the Downtown Club at the Met and the Galleria Tennis and Athletic Club. Stay tuned to GoDuke.com for information on the draw as well as live scoring and live video links.
#13 Duke 7, #31 Michigan 0
Feb 09, 2014 at Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
1. Michael Redlicki/Jason Tahir (DU) def. Alex Buzzi/Barrett Franks (MICH) 6-5 (7-4)
2. Fred Saba/Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Alex Petrone/Michael Zhu (MICH) 6-2
3. Daniel McCall/Cale Hammond (DU) vs. Shaun Bernstein/Kevin Wong (MICH) 5-5, unfinished
1. #29 Michael Redlicki (DU) def. Vlad Stefan (MICH) 4-6, 6-4, 6-5 (7-3)
2. Fred Saba (DU) def. Alex Petrone (MICH) 5-6 (1-7), 6-3, 1-0 (10-7)
3. #52 Jason Tahir (DU) def. Shaun Bernstein (MICH) 6-0, 6-4
4. Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Alex Buzzi (MICH) 6-3, 6-5 (7-4)
5. #77 Josh Levine (DU) def. Kevin Wong (MICH) 6-3, 6-2
6. TJ Pura (DU) def. Barrett Franks (MICH) 3-6, 6-5 (7-5), 1-0 (13-11)
Michigan 3-4; National ranking #31
Duke 5-3; National ranking #13
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (5,3,4,2,6,1)