No. 15 Duke vs. No. 19 Illinois
Friday, Jan. 31 l 6 p.m.
Durham, N.C. l Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center
DURHAM, N.C. – After securing a trip to the 2014 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championships in Houston, Texas last weekend, Duke (3-2) is set to welcome a top-20 opponent in No. 19 Illinois to the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center Friday evening. Free pizza and giveaways will be provided for fans in attendance, courtesy of the Duke Marketing staff.
Last Time Out
The Blue Devils advanced to the ITA National Team Indoors for the fourth consecutive season, winning two matches on their home courts in Durham during ITA Kick-Off Weekend Jan. 25-26 … The squad downed then-No. 54 Oregon in the opening round Jan. 25, with sophomore Josh Levine and junior Raphael Hemmeler each pulling out three-set victories in singles to clinch the win … In the championship match against No. 42 North Carolina, Duke rallied after dropping the doubles point to collect four wins in singles … Senior Fred Saba clinched the 4-2 victory from the No. 2 position, topping 17th-ranked Ronnie Schneider of the Tar Heels, 6-4, 6-4.
Illinois Series History
Duke will face the Fighting Illini for the 19th time in program history Friday night in Sheffield … Illinois leads the overall series, 14-4, after taking a narrow 4-3 decision in the teams’ last meeting Feb. 1, 2013 in Champaign.
Scouting the Fighting Illini
Ranked 19th in the latest ITA Division I poll, Illinois enters Friday’s dual match with a 2-0 ledger … The squad also advanced to the ITA National Team Indoors, topping Clemson 4-0 and defeating Michigan 4-2 to qualify for the tournament … Jared Hiltzik, the fourth-ranked player nationally, paces the team with a 2-0 record at the No. 1 position in singles … Two other players are also ranked in singles, with Tim Kopinski coming in at No. 46 and Farris Gosea at No. 106 … The Fighting Illini also feature three ranked doubles teams in No. 4 Kopinski and Ross Guignon, No. 27 Gosea and Blake Bazarnik and No. 31 Hiltzik and Alex Jesse.
Blue Devils in the ITA Rankings
Duke moved up two spots to No. 15 in the team rankings after defeating Oregon and North Carolina last weekend … Four individuals appear among the top-125 singles players on the list ... Sophomore Michael Redlicki leads the way, appearing 29th ... Junior Jason Tahir moved up in the rankings to No. 52 this spring for the highest ranking of his collegiate career ... For sophomore Josh Levine, his No. 77 ranking marks the first time the Syosset, N.Y., native has cracked the top-125 ... Sophomore Bruno Semenzato rounds out the Blue Devil contingent, tabbed No. 95 in the first poll of the spring.
Win Streaks in Singles
Junior Raphael Hemmeler has won three-straight contests in singles heading into the matchup with Illinois … He posted a pair of victories from the No. 6 spot in the lineup during ITA Kick-Off Weekend and also earned a win from the No. 4 spot against NC Central to make him 3-2 in singles dual match play … Sophomore Bruno Semenzato is riding a three-match win streak as well, playing primarily from the No. 4 position … He is 4-1 this spring and 16-5 overall while classmate Josh Levine owns a team-best mark of 17-4 and 4-1 in dual matches … Levine started the spring 4-0 before suffering a setback to North Carolina’s Nelson Vick last Sunday … As a team, Duke is 18-9 so far this season in dual match singles contests.