DURHAM, N.C. - The 21st-ranked Blue Devils suffered a 5-2 loss on Friday to No. 12 Illinois at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
Despite one of Duke's largest home crowds in recent years, the Fighting Illini was able to come away with the victory by taking the doubles points and each of the bottom four singles contests. The Blue Devils fall to 2-2 with the loss while Illinois improves to 3-1 on the season.
"The crowd was amazing tonight," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "I think it is probably the second biggest crowd we have had since I have been here. The energy was awesome and I think it really helped Reid (Carleton) and Henrique (Cunha) as they rose to the occasion and played some amazing points to draw loud roars from the fans. However, at a couple other spots we put ourselves in position to take leads or close out sets and things didn't work out for us against a good Illinois team."
The top of Duke's lineup posted strong performances on Friday night. Freshman Henrique Cunha, who is ranked No. 17 in singles, earned his sixth win over a ranked opponent. Cunha won a second-set tiebreaker to close out his 6-4, 7-6 win over No. 43 Dennis Nevolo in the top spot of the lineup. Cunha earned his team-leading 16th win in singles, improving to 16-5 overall and 2-2 in dual matches.
Junior Reid Carleton remained undefeated in dual match play, improving to 3-0 at the No. 2 spot in the order. Carleton defeated Johnny Hamui in straight sets 6-4, 6-1 and is now 9-5 overall this year.
Carleton and Cunha also cruised to a win at the No. 1 doubles spot, winning 8-2 against Hamui and Nevolo. Illinois would come back with wins at No. 2 and 3 to take the doubles point, however and an early 1-0 lead in the match.
Illinois won the first set in three of the six matches, finishing off all three in straight sets. The only match that went three sets on the day was the No. 4 contest as Stephen Hoh came back from a first set loss to defeat No. 77 Torsten Wietoska 6-7, 6-4, 7-5.
The Blue Devils will play a doubleheader on Sunday starting at 12 noon against No. 34 Notre Dame and concluding with N.C. Central at 6 p.m.
Tennis Match Results
Feb. 05, 2010 at Durham, N.C.
#12 Illinois 4, #21 Duke 2
1. #8 Reid Carleton/Henrique Cunha (Duke) def. Johnny Hamui/Dennis Nevolo (Ilinois) 8-2
2. Marek Czerwinski/Stephen Hoh (Illinois) def. Dylan Arnould/Torsten Wietoska (Duke) 8-3
3. Connor Roth/Abe Souza (Illinois) def. Alain Michel/Jared Pinsky (Duke) 8-5
1. #17 Henrique Cunha (Duke) def. #43 Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) 6-4, 7-6 (2)
2. Reid Carleton (Duke) def. Johnny Hamui (Illinois) 6-4, 6-1
3. Marek Czerwinski (Illinois) def. #62 Dylan Arnould (Duke) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3
4. Stephen Hoh (Illinois) def. #77 Torsten Wietoska (Duke) 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5
5. Abe Souza (Illinois) def. Alain Michel (Duke) 6-3, 6-4
6. Connor Roth (Illinois) def. Luke Marchese (Duke) 7-5, 7-5
Illinois 2-1; National ranking #12
Duke 2-1; National ranking #21
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,5,3,1,6)