DURHAM, N.C. – It was a Senior Day success for the No. 46 Duke men’s tennis team as it sent TJ Pura out with a 6-1 Saturday victory against Miami. Pura picked up a singles win in his final home match as Duke ended the 2017 season 12-1 at home, falling only to No. 2 Wake Forest.
Pura’s victory gave Duke a 2-0 lead, pushed his ACC winning streak to 10 matches, the fourth-longest streak in program history, and earned him the longest single-season run by a Blue Devil. Sophomore Catalin Mateas won his sixth straight match to clinch the win for Duke with a 6-4, 6-2 victory on court two. Saturday’s result improved Duke’s record to 14-8 overall and 7-4 in ACC play, a turnaround from a year ago when the Blue Devils finished 11-15 and 4-8 in league competition. Miami falls to 8-11 and 2-8 in ACC matches.
“This was a huge weekend for us,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “It was Senior Weekend for TJ. We knew we needed some of these wins to help our chances in the postseason. I really think it all started with how we came out after losing the doubles point to Notre Dame. We lost the tough doubles point and played great singles yesterday. That kind of carried over to today. We played better in doubles and got that point. We didn’t let up. We’re playing really well. I’m happy with how we’re peaking toward the end of the season.”
“This was kind of bittersweet,” Pura said. “I have so many good memories out here on these courts. It was nice to finish it off with a win and have all the people I love the most in the stands for me every point.”
Duke got off to a quick start in doubles, taking the point with wins on courts one and two. Sophomores Jason Lapidus and Ryan Dickerson picked up the first victory, 6-2 against Piotr Lomacki and Nile Clark on court two. The Duke pair broke and held to open the match. Miami answered to cut it to a one-game deficit at 2-1 and 3-2, but Duke held, broke and held to end the match. Dickerson and Lapidus up their mark to 8-6 overall and 4-6 in ACC play.
The second ranked win of the weekend for freshmen Nick Stachowiak and Spencer Furman gave the Blue Devils the point as the No. 61 team topped No. 40 Max Andrews and Jesse Flores 6-4 on court one. Friday, Stachowiak and Furman defeated No. 19 Josh Hagar and Eddy Covalschi of Notre Dame 6-2 on court one. On Saturday, the Blue Devil duo broke and held at 2-2 to take a 4-2 advantage. The two teams held for each of the final five games with the Blue Devils coming away winners. Duke won the final game on a deuce point that Miami returned long. Stachowiak and Furman improve to 18-2 overall and 6-2 in league play. The six ACC doubles wins are tied for the ninth most by a Duke rookie in a year. With two doubles wins this weekend, Stachowiak is up to 26 overall in doubles this year, tied for the sixth most for a Blue Devil rookie.
The match on court three between Pura and Mateas and Christian Langmo and Dane Dunlap was halted with Miami leading 6-5.
Pura pushed the lead to 2-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 victory against Clark on court five. Pura was even at 2-2 in the opening set before winning eight of the final 10 games to pick up the win. He is now 27-9 overall and 10-0 in ACC action. His 10 league victories are tied for the second most in program history and his 28 career ACC triumphs area tied for the eighth most by a Blue Devil.
“This weekend was huge for us,” Pura added. “Both matches were must wins in order for us to have a chance at making the NCAA Championship. I feel like we’re peaking at the right time and coming together as a team. We’re playing our best tennis right now.”
“I’ve called him Mr. ACC for a while,” Smith said of Pura. “He steps up in the big moments and is undefeated in ACCs this year. He seems to play his best when it matters the most. Not only his tennis, but he has been a great leader for us. Everyone loves TJ. He has really dedicated himself to this program. I’m so excited for him to be finishing strong on all fronts. He is the reason why we’re doing so well right now.”
Seconds later, Stachowiak made it a 3-0 lead as he defeated Flores 6-2, 6-4 on court four. Stachowiak led 2-0 in the first set before Flores got it down to 3-2, but Stachowiak won the final three games. Stachowiak jumped ahead 3-1 in the second set, but Flores rallied to even it at 3-3. The set was knotted at 4-4 before Stachowiak won the final two games. Stachowiak ups his record to 30-10 overall and 6-5 in league play. His 30 wins are tied for the 10th most by a Duke freshman.
Clinching his second match in the last three contests was Mateas, who topped Langmo 6-4, 6-2 on court two. Mateas fell behind 2-0 in the opening set before drawing even at 2-2. The set was also tied at 3-3 before Mateas broke and held to take control and hold on for the set. To open the second set, Mateas broke and held to go up 2-0. Langmo got it to a game deficit at 2-1 and 3-2, but Mateas held, broke and held to end the match. Mateas is now 23-12 overall and 7-3 in ACC action.
Duke tallied its sixth point from freshman Robert Levine, who earned his first career ACC win with a 6-4, 6-4 victory on court three against Andrews. With the first set tied 3-3, Levine held and broke to take a 5-3 advantage. Andrews answered with a break to trail 5-4, but Levine broke again to end the set. The second set was even at 2-2 before Andrews broke to go up 3-2. Levine answered with a break to retie the set at 3-3. With a 4-4 tie in the action, Levine held and broke to end the match. Levine improves to 18-15 and 1-4 in ACC matches.
For the second straight match, the final point was determined on court one, where No. 46 Lomacki downed No. 89 Furman 6-7 (3), 6-1, 1-0 (7). The opening set was tied at each of the first six points before Furman took the tiebreaker, winning the final four points after a 3-3 draw. Lomacki regrouped in the second set and captured the first four points of the first-to-10 tiebreaker of a third set. Furman got the tiebreaker down to three points at 6-3, but Lomacki answered with the next three points to go up 9-3. Furman answered again, winning four straight points to trail 9-7, but Lomacki recorded the final point. Furman dips to 19-10 overall and 5-6 in ACC action.
Duke completes the regular season Friday with a 4 p.m. match at No. 39 Louisville.
No. 46 Duke 6, Miami 1
April 15, 2017 at Durham, N.C. (Ambler Tennis Stadium)
1. #61 Nick Stachowiak/Spencer Furman (DU) def. #40 Max Andrews/Jesse Flores (UM) 6-4
2. Jason Lapidus/Ryan Dickerson (DU) def. Piotr Lomacki/Nile Clark (UM) 6-2
3. Catalin Mateas/TJ Pura (DU) vs. Dane Dunlap/Christian Langmo (UM) 5-6, unfinished
1. #46 Piotr Lomacki (UM) def. #89 Spencer Furman (DU) 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 1-0 (10-7)
2. #100 Catalin Mateas (DU) def. Christian Langmo (UM) 6-4, 6-2
3. Robert Levine (DU) def. Max Andrews (UM) 6-4, 6-4
4. Nick Stachowiak (DU) def. Jesse Flores (UM) 6-2, 6-4
5. TJ Pura (DU) def. Nile Clark (UM) 6-3, 6-1
6. Ryan Dickerson (DU) def. Dane Dunlap (UM) 6-3, 6-2
Miami 8-11, 2-8 ACC
Duke 14-8, 7-4 ACC; National ranking #46
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (5,4,2,6,3,1)
Official: Gerard Baisch T-2:40 A-172