DURHAM, N.C. - The sixth-ranked Duke men's tennis team rebounded from its first Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season in convincing fashion, notching a 7-0 victory over No. 68 Virginia Tech Sunday at Ambler Tennis Stadium. The Blue Devils claimed the doubles point for the fifth consecutive match and collected straight-set victories on all six courts in singles play on their way to the win.
"Overall as a team, I thought we handled a loss really well again," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "We're playing good tennis and bouncing back and improving after tough losses. I thought we were really prepared for this match."
Duke (14-3, 3-1 ACC) posted wins in two of the three doubles contests to grab a 1-0 lead in the match heading into singles. Freshman Raphael Hemmeler and sophomore Cale Hammond led Duke off the courts, cruising to an 8-1 victory against Virginia Tech's Trpimir Kujundzic and Hunter Koontz in the No. 3 position. Hemmeler and Hammond remain undefeated as a tandem with an overall record of 5-0 and a 4-0 ledger in ACC play.
The 62nd-ranked duo of junior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Chris Mengel clinched the doubles point for the third consecutive match, downing No. 47 Luka Somen and Corrado Degl'Incerti Tocci, 8-3, in the No. 1 doubles contest. The win marked Cunha and Mengel's third over a ranked doubles pair this season and moved them to 11-4 overall and 4-0 in conference action.
"I thought that was two of our better matches of the year at No. 1 and No. 3," Smith said. "Both solid teams on Virginia Tech's side, and we just got off to unbelievable starts."
Duke jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the match with a pair of straight-set singles victories on courts four and five. Tahir defeated Tocci in the No. 5 contest, 6-2, 6-0, to improve to 17-6 overall and 5-2 from the No. 5 position. Saba followed shortly after, rolling to a 6-3, 6-0 victory against the Hokies' Mauricio Antun in the No. 4 matchup for his second singles win of the weekend. Saba is now 21-10 on the year in singles play and 3-1 in ACC contests.
Third-ranked Cunha clinched his third match of the year, recording a 6-1, 6-0 victory over No. 84 Somen of Virginia Tech on court one. The win moved Cunha to 27-6 overall and 13-2 from the top spot in the lineup. In the No. 3 singles contest, Hemmeler picked up his first career ACC singles victory with a 6-4, 6-0 win against Daciek.
Hammond closed out a weekend of strong play, dispatching Kujundzic in the No. 6 spot, 7-5, 6-3. The Duke sophomore went 4-0 during the weekend homestand, collecting a pair of straight-set singles victories from the No. 6 position and two wins at No. 3 doubles along with Hemmeler. Hammond also extended his dual match singles win streak to four while improving to 3-0 in conference play.
"It was a good weekend for Cale," Smith said. "His success this weekend was the result of all the hard work he's put in, so it wasn't surprising at all. I thought he did a great job for us."
In a battle of ranked players on court two, No. 18 Mengel outlasted No. 89 Oliveira, 6-2, 6-4, to seal the 7-0 victory for Duke. Mengel is now 25-7 overall in singles play and 11-3 from the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
The Blue Devils improve to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in ACC play with the win while moving to 7-2 on the year in home contests. Duke has now won nine of the last 11 meetings with Virginia Tech, and leads the all-time series by a 23-2 margin. Meanwhile, the Hokies dropped to 6-8 overall and 2-3 in conference action.
Duke continues its ACC homestand next weekend as it welcomes No. 63 Clemson on Friday, March 30 at 3 p.m. and No. 69 Georgia Tech on Sunday, April 1 at 12 p.m.
#6 Duke 7, #68 Virginia Tech 0
Mar 25, 2012 at Durham, N.C.
(Ambler Tennis Stadium)
1. #62 Henrique Cunha/Chris Mengel (DU) def. #47 Luka Somen/Corrado Tocci (VT) 8-3
2. Patrick Daciek/Lucas Oliveira (VT) def. Fred Saba/Jason Tahir (DU) 8-2
3. Raphael Hemmeler/Cale Hammond (DU) def. Trpimir Kujundzic/Hunter Koontz (VT) 8-1
1. #3 Henrique Cunha (DU) def. #84 Luka Somen (VT) 6-1, 6-0
2. #18 Chris Mengel (DU) def. #89 Lucas Oliveira (VT) 6-2, 6-4
3. Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Patrick Daciek (VT) 6-4, 6-0
4. Fred Saba (DU) def. Mauricio Antun (VT) 6-3, 6-0
5. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Corrado Tocci (VT) 6-2, 6-0
6. Cale Hammond (DU) def. Trpimir Kujundzic (VT) 7-5, 6-3
Virginia Tech 6-8, 2-3 ACC; National ranking #68
Duke 14-3, 3-1 ACC; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (5,4,1,3,6,2)