"We had some chances here and there and we fought to the end," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "Congratulations to Virginia. They played a great tournament, they had a great regular season and they played really well today."
The doubles matches on courts one and three were tight throughout as the teams stayed on serve. In the No. 3 contest, the Cavaliers' Alex Domijan and Mitchell Frank grabbed a break at 5-3 against senior Torsten Wietoska and freshman Raphael Hemmeler and held on to defeat the Blue Devils by an 8-5 margin.
After securing the doubles point for Duke in Saturday's semifinals with a thrilling victory at the No. 2 spot, senior David Holland and sophomore Fred Saba carried that momentum into Sunday's championship match. The Blue Devil tandem collected a pair of early breaks against Virginia's Steven Eelkman Rooda and Justin Shane, cruising to an 8-2 win to improve to 6-3 on the season.
With the split on the other two courts, all eyes turned to the action on court one, where the 15th-ranked pair of junior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Chris Mengel faced the No. 18 doubles team in the nation in Drew Courtney and Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia. Both teams stayed on serve until the Cavaliers earned a decisive break at 7-6 to take the match and secure the doubles point.
"I felt like we played well," Cunha said. "Doubles was hard. One break can define the match. We were serving well but then the last game we had some unlucky points and they took their chances."
Virginia widened its lead to 2-0 in the match when No. 42 Domijan defeated 36th-ranked Mengel, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 2 singles contest. Duke freshman Jason Tahir responded with what would be the lone singles victory for the Blue Devils, a 6-3, 6-4 decision against Julen Uriguen in the No. 6 spot. The win moved Tahir to 24-8 on the season.
In the No. 4 singles matchup, Saba jumped out to a 3-1 lead in a first set tiebreaker against the Cavaliers' Courtney, but it was Courtney who would hang on to win the tiebreak, 7-5. Courtney took the second set by a score of 6-3 to push the score of the match to 3-1 in Virginia's favor. The Virginia senior was later named the ACC Tournament MVP.
Duke was not done fighting yet, as Wietoska and Hemmeler forced third sets on courts four and five, respectively, after dropping the first sets of their matches. However, it was the battle of top-five players on court one that proved to be the difference, as fifth-ranked Jenkins edged fourth-ranked Cunha, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), to clinch the championship for the Cavaliers.
The Blue Devils fell to 22-5 on the season while Virginia improved to 24-1. The Cavaliers also extended their win streak against ACC opponents to 92 consecutive matches.
Duke will now await the 2012 NCAA Tournament selections, which will be announced on Tuesday, May 1.
#2 Virginia 4, #8 Duke 1
ACC Men's Tennis Championship
Apr 22, 2012 at Chapel Hill, N.C.
Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center
1. #18 Jarmere Jenkins/Drew Courtney (UVA) def. #15 Henrique Cunha/Chris Mengel (DU) 8-6
2. Fred Saba/David Holland (DU) def. Steven Eelkman Rooda/Justin Shane (UVA) 8-2
3. Alex Domijan/Mitchell Frank (UVA) def. Raphael Hemmeler/Torsten Wietoska (DU) 8-5
1. #5 Jarmere Jenkins (UVA) def. #4 Henrique Cunha (DU) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
2. #42 Alex Domijan (UVA) def. #36 Chris Mengel (DU) 6-2, 6-2
3. #1 Mitchell Frank (UVA) vs. #115 Torsten Wietoska (DU) 6-3, 4-6, 4-1, unfinished
4. Drew Courtney (UVA) def. Fred Saba (DU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
5. #79 Justin Shane (UVA) vs. Raphael Hemmeler (DU) 6-3, 5-7, 1-2, unfinished
6. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Julen Uriguen (UVA) 6-3, 6-4
Duke 22-5, 9-2 ACC; National ranking #8
Virginia 24-1, 11-0 ACC; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,6,4,1)