Men's Tennis Prepares to Face No. 24 California Sunday
DURHAM, N.C. – The fourth-ranked Duke men’s tennis team will close out the nonconference portion of its 2013 regular season schedule Sunday, March 10 as it travels to Berkeley, Calif., to face No. 24 California at 4 p.m. ET. The match against the Bears will mark the first outdoor dual match of the season for the Blue Devils.
“We are looking forward to finishing our non-conference season strong in Berkeley,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “Cal is a tough team and we are going to be ready for a battle.”
The Blue Devils will look to continue their success after the team completed a 7-0 sweep of VCU Tuesday, after the match was moved inside the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center due to inclement weather. The team captured the doubles point for the 13th time this season, as the fourth-ranked pair of senior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Raphael Hemmeler earned their team-leading 21st win of the season and clinched the opening point for Duke. In singles, junior Chris Mengel, listed 70th in the latest ITA rankings, sealed the team victory after he won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, from the No. 4 position, while 46th-ranked Fred Saba posted a 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (8) upset over No. 15 Max Wennakoski on court two, marking his first victory of the season over a ranked opponent.
Now in his fifth season as Duke’s head coach, Smith is quickly approaching the 100th victory of his tenure. Following the team’s 7-0 sweep of VCU Tuesday, Smith sits at 95 career wins. He would become the fourth head coach in program history to reach the 100 win mark, joining Steve Strome (160), John LeBar (184) and Jay Lapidus (373).
The Bears enter Sunday’s match with a 6-5 overall record and are listed 24th in the latest ITA rankings. In their last match, Cal defeated Sacramento State, 5-2, Thursday in Sacramento, Calif. The Bears boast four ranked players in singles led by senior Christoffer Konigsfeldt at No. 34, while No. 56 Ben McLachlan, No. 69 Campbell Johnson and No. 117 Chase Melton are also listed in the rankings. In doubles, Johnson and Konigsfeldt is Cal’s top doubles tandem, ranked 18th in the latest poll, while Ben and Riki McLachlan boast a No. 46 listing.
Sunday’s contest will mark the eighth all-time matchup between the Bears and the Blue Devils, with California leading the series with a 6-1 record. Duke posted its first victory of the series against Cal last season, defeating the Bears, 6-1, on March 11, 2012 in Durham. The Blue Devils will make their first ever visit to Berkeley in the series.
Live video will be available for the match, while updates on twitter (@Duke_MTEN) will also be provided throughout the match.