CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The eighth-ranked Duke men's tennis team cruised to a 6-1 victory over No. 57 North Carolina Sunday afternoon at the Cone Kenfield Tennis Stadium. The team wore black ribbons during the match in memory of longtime supporter and former assistant coach Dr. James Bonk, who passed away Friday.
"It was a good weekend for us," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "That is the way we want to start off ACC play. Doubles set the tone again today; that was probably our best doubles point of the year. We did a really good job in singles as well."
The Blue Devils (14-3, 2-0 ACC) came out of the gate and won the doubles point in impressive fashion, as they swept the Tar Heels (7-8, 0-2 ACC) in just under 45 minutes. The ninth-ranked pair of Jason Tahir and Michael Redlicki opened the match with a dominating 8-1 win over North Carolina's Nelson Vick and William Parker. The duo jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage and rolled to their 19th victory of the season, while the 25th-ranked tandem of Fred Saba and Chris Mengel clinched the opening point for Duke over North Carolina's Brett Clark and Maik Ulrich, 8-3.
"Each team had a clear goal of what they wanted to accomplish," Smith said. "They are coming prepared, coming with energy and executing our game plan. We are playing with a lot of confidence in doubles and I am really happy with all three teams."
The Blue Devils took the momentum gained from doubles to the singles portion of the match, quickly getting on top of North Carolina early by winning the first set at each respective position. Tahir gave Duke a 2-0 advantage at the No. 6 spot in the lineup, cruising to victory over Andrew Gores, 6-0, 6-2. He remains perfect from the sixth position with a 9-0 record. Moments later, Mengel gave the Blue Devils a commanding 3-0 lead from the fourth position after he defeated Oystein Steiro, 6-1, 6-2.
Cunha clinched the match from the No. 1 position in the lineup as he defeated Hess-Ollesen, 6-4, 6-2. After trailing 3-2 in the first set of the match, the senior rattled off four of five games to win the set, 6-4, before taking the second set to seal the match. A native of Jaú, Brazil, Cunha remains perfect for the dual season from the top position in the lineup at 10-0.
"I think the key for me in singles was just hanging in there," said Cunha of his singles match. "I wasn't playing my best tennis in the first set, but I found a way to help my serve and get some breaks. I played really well at the end."
At the third position, Redlicki defeated Vick in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, while, Saba edged No. 104 Clark at the No. 2 spot in the lineup in straight sets, 7-5, 7-6 (2). In the lone match of the day to go to a decisive third set, Hemmeler dropped Duke's lone match of the day at the fifth position to Parker, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Up next, the Blue Devils will travel to Charlottesville, Va., to take on top-ranked Virginia Friday, March 22 at 3 p.m., before heading to Blacksburg, Va., to take on Virginia Tech Sunday, March 24 at 1 p.m.
Tennis Match Results
Duke vs North Carolina
Mar 17, 2013 at Chapel Hill, N.C.
(Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center)
#8 Duke 6, #57 North Carolina 1
1. #10 Henrique Cunha (DU) def. #35 Esben Hess-Olessen (UNC) 6-4, 6-2
2. #27 Fred Saba (DU) def. #104 Brett Clark (UNC) 7-5, 7-6 (7-2)
3. #26 Michael Redlicki (DU) def. #113 Nelson Vick (UNC) 6-3, 6-4
4. #89 Chris Mengel (DU) def. #114 Oystein Steiro (UNC) 6-1, 6-2
5. William Parker (UNC) def. #55 Raphael Hemmeler (DU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
6. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Andrew Gores (UNC) 6-0, 6-2
1. Raphael Hemmeler/Henrique Cunha (DU) def. Esben Hess-Olessen/Oystein Steiro (UNC) 8-3
2. #9 Michael Redlicki/Jason Tahir (DU) def. Nelson Vick/William Parker (UNC) 8-1
3. Fred Saba/Chris Mengel (DU) def. Brett Clark/Maik Ulrich (UNC) 8-2
Duke 14-3; National ranking #8
North Carolina 7-8; National ranking #57
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,4,1,3,2,5)