DURHAM, N.C. - It went down to the third set in the last two singles matches, but Duke was nipped by No. 4 Texas, 5-2, this afternoon at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
The 33rd-ranked Blue Devils (5-3) battled with the Longhorns, going into three match tiebreakers. Duke was down 2-3 overall with Dylan Arnould and David Holland still on the court, but Texas was able to edge both matches to take the win.
Arnould fought back from a 1-6 first set to win the second set 6-4 and then dropped a third-set tiebreaker, 8-6. Holland also worked his way back to win his second set 6-4 after being down 2-6 in the first set, before Vasko Mladenov took the third set, 6-4.
""I think we put ourselves in position to win at the end against a top-five team," head coach Ramsey Smith said. "I hope that shows the guys how good we are."
Duke got off to a great start with an excellent run of doubles. The Blue Devils went up 1-0 in the team score with some stellar play in close matches against highly-ranked Texas pairs.
"I think our doubles were a nine out of 10," Smith said. "Our doubles were excellent. That is the best doubles we have played all year. I was extremely happy with that."
At No. 3 doubles, Torsten Wietoska and Alain Michel pulled away from the No. 22 Texas doubles team of Jean Andersen and Daniel Whitehead to take the first match, 8-5. The match was tied at 2-2 and again at 4-4 before the Blue Devils ran off three-straight games to push ahead to 7-4 before taking the final game.
On court two, Arnould and Holland took a 4-1 lead over Texas, but the Longhorns battled back to tie the score at 8 apiece. The 22nd-ranked Texas pair of Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico won the tiebreak, 7-4.
Henrique Cunha and Reid Carleton, ranked third nationally, took down the fourth-ranked Texas duo of Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala, 9-7, in No. 1 doubles play. The match was close the entire way, until the Blue Devils were able to break Texas late in the match to go up 8-7.
"We told the guys it was going to come down to a couple points after the doubles, and it really did," Smith said.
Cunha also won his match at No. 1 singles, taking down seventh-ranked Kutrovsky of Texas, 7-5, 6-1. The native of Jaú, Brazil came back to win the first set before cruising to victory in the second set.
"[Henrique] Cunha played amazing, start to finish," Smith said.
On court five, 78th-ranked Zavala won a 6-3, 6-4 game over Jared Pinsky of Duke.
At No. 2 singles, 10th-ranked Corrie won a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Carleton, who is ranked No. 70.
Wietoska battled back from a 2-6 first set to enter a tiebreaker with Anderson, but Texas was able to win the tiebreak, 8-6, to secure the second set, 7-6.
"We are making progress and we have been working hard in practice," Smith said. "We haven't had that many matches lately, so I wouldn't say we are match tough. I'm excited to get our matches more regularly and build on that."
Duke will travel to Los Angeles, Calif. to face No. 6 UCLA on March 9.
Tennis Match Results
Texas vs Duke
Mar ch 5, 2010 at Durham, N.C.
#4 Texas 5, #33 Duke 2
1. #3 Henrique Cunha/Reid Carleton (DU) def. #4 Josh Zavala/Dimitar Kutrovsky (TX) 9-7
2. #22 Ed Corrie/Kellen Damico (TX) def. Dylan Arnould/David Holland (DU) 9-8 (7-4)
3. Torsten Wietoska/Alain Michel (DU) def. #19 Jean Andersen/Daniel Whitehead (TX) 8-5
1. #14 Henrique Cunha (DU) def. #7 Dimitar Kutrovsky (TX) 7-5, 6-1
2. #10 Ed Corrie (TX) def. #70 Reid Carleton (DU) 6-2, 6-2
3. #95 Kellen Damico (TX) def. #63 Dylan Arnould (DU) 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6)
4. Jean Andersen (TX) def. Torsten Wietoska (DU) 6-2, 7-6
5. #78 Josh Zavala (TX) def. Jared Pinsky (DU) 6-3, 6-4
6. Vasko Mladenov (TX) def. David Holland (DU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Texas 12-1; National ranking #4
Duke 5-3; National ranking #33
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (1,5,2,4,3,6)