DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s tennis team will begin the dual match portion of its 2019 campaign at 6 p.m. Saturday by hosting Elon.
All regular season Duke men’s tennis home events at Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center and Ambler Tennis Stadium are free to the public. General public parking is available in the Blue Zone parking lot off Duke University Road. Saturday’s match is a Royal Blue Club event. Pizza will be available to fans while supplies last.
Duke Versus Elon
The Blue Devils own a 12-1 advantage in series history with the lone loss a 4-3 setback on January 17, 2014 … The teams last met on January 16, 2017, with Duke picking up a 6-1 victory as the Phoenix won the doubles point before the Blue Devils swept through singles … Among current Blue Devils, senior Catalin Mateas is 2-0 in dual matches versus foes from Elon while senior Ryan Dickerson as well as juniors Spencer Furman, Robert Levine and Nick Stachowiak are all 1-0.
Scouting the Phoenix
Elon will be led by senior Felipe Sarrasague, who went 14-8 in dual match competition a year ago, including a 12-8 record on court one … Classmate Mario Paccini filled the number two slot a season ago, going 12-8 overall in dual competition and 10-7 on the second court … Sophomore Kyle Frankel brings back court three experience, where he went 12-8 last spring and 13-9 in dual matches … In doubles, the Phoenix will feature a new look as its top two teams from a year ago do not return … Frankel and Camilo Ponce, a sophomore, went 4-2 on court three last spring to pace the returning pairs.
“This is always an exciting time of year,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “We’re kicking off the dual match season, which in the college tennis world is where all the fun is. You get to compete as a team and against other universities. Elon has a very solid and strong team. Our guys worked hard over break before starting team practice on Monday. We have had a great week of practice plus a lot of team bonding and team activities. I know the guys are eager to get out there and compete.”
Strong in Season Openers …
Duke is 15-1 in its last 16 season-opening dual matches … The lone loss was a 4-3 setback to Elon on January 17, 2014.
… Especially Under Smith
Since the 2008-09 campaign when Smith took over the program, Duke has gone 9-1 in season openers with five wins coming via a sweep.
Winning Inside Sheffield Tennis Center
Duke has won 38 of its last 47 home indoor matches (.809 winning percentage) … The Blue Devils have captured their home indoor opener in 13 of the last 15 years.
Excelling Against Nonconference Opponents
During the last five years, Duke has gone 44-21 (.677 winning percentage) against nonconference opponents during the regular season … The Blue Devils have seven or more wins against nonconference foes in each of the last five years.
Strong Against the State
During the 2017 spring season, Duke went 4-2 versus in-state squads, defeating Elon, N.C. Central, Charlotte and N.C. State and falling to No. 5 North Carolina and No. 2 Wake Forest … Last spring, Duke went 2-2 in such matchups, beating N.C. Central 5-1 and No. 16 N.C. State 6-1, but falling 4-3 to No. 8 North Carolina and 6-1 to No. 1 Wake Forest … In the last six years, Duke is a combined 25-11 (.694 winning percentage) versus in-state opponents … Duke is 23-1 (.958 winning percentage) during Smith’s 10 years against North Carolina schools that are not in the ACC … The Blue Devils’ lone loss was a 4-3 setback to Elon on January 17, 2014, in the season-opening match.
Where We Were in 2018
Duke concluded the season standing 30th in the final Oracle/ITA rankings, a jump of five places from the end of the 2018 season … The Blue Devils reached a high ranking of No. 10 for the week of February 27, their highest since standing No. 10 in the final 2015 poll … Duke made its 26th showing in the NCAA Team Championship in the last 27 seasons, facing Ole Miss in the opening round of the event … Near the start of the spring season, the Blue Devils won the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, to qualify for the ITA Team Indoor Championship for the first time since 2015.
Five Signed in November
Smith and associate head coach Jonathan Stokke added five Blue Devils to next year’s roster in November with their latest signing class. Michael Heller, Garrett Johns, Omni Kumar, Samuel Rubell and Andrew Zhang all inked National Letters of Intent with Duke. Heller, Johns, Kumar and Zhang are rated as blue chip prospects by TennisRecruiting.net and Rubell is a five-star signee. Rubell is also a legacy Blue Devil as his father, Jason, also played tennis at Duke, earning All-America honors and being named the 1991 ACC Player of the Year.
Highlights from the 2018 Fall Season
- Furman turned in an impressive showing at the ITA All-American Championships, advancing out of the prequalifying rounds and getting to the qualifying Round of 32 … He led the Blue Devils with seven singles wins during the fall season
- Senior Jason Lapidus turned in a strong semester as he went 5-1 in his final six singles matches of the fall, including a 4-0 weekend at the Wake Forest Fall Invitational with the B2 flight title
- Stachowiak came within one victory of advancing to the main draw at the ITA All-American event and went 3-1 at the Wake Forest Fall Invitational
- As a team, Duke achieved a 3.69 GPA for the fall semester
Duke wraps up its season-opening home stand by hosting Arizona State at 6 p.m. Friday, January 18.