DURHAM, N.C. - After securing a spot in the ITA National Team Indoors last weekend inside the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center, the fifth-ranked Duke University men's tennis team will seek to stay undefeated as it will face a pair of top-30 opponents on the road. The Blue Devils will face No. 25 Illinois on Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. ET and then travel to South Bend, Ind., to face No. 30 Notre Dame Sunday, Feb. 3 at noon.
"Our guys have built up a lot of momentum the last few weeks, and we look forward to two tough matches on the road this weekend," said head coach Ramsey Smith.
Last time on the courts, the Blue Devils defeated Northwestern in the championship match of the Durham regional in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, 4-0. Sophomore Jason Tahir clinched the match from the No. 6 position over the Wildcats' Fedor Baev, 6-0,6-4. The top-ranked doubles pair in the nation of Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler extended their winning streak to 13 consecutive matches dating back to the fall, clinching the doubles point against the Wildcats over Baev and Spencer Wolf, 8-3, in the No. 1 doubles position.
The Blue Devils have not yet dropped a match to begin the 2013 dual season, boasting an impressive 46-0 record in doubles and singles play, while the team is off to a 5-0 start. Entering the weekend, Cunha leads Duke with a team-high six wins over a ranked opponents with a 6-2 record this season, while rookie Michael Redlicki begins his career with a 4-1 mark over ranked opponents. Cunha and Hemmeler lead the team in doubles with a perfect 5-0 mark over ranked tandems.
The Illini enter the weekend with a 2-2 record to open the 2013 campaign, dropping two matches in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend against Tennessee and Tulsa. Illinois is led by Jared Hiltzik in singles, who is ranked 114th, while the pair of Farris Gosea and Tim Kopinski lead the squad in doubles with a No. 56 ranking. Duke will face Illinois for the 18th time in program history, with the Illini leading the all-time series, 13-4. The two schools previously met last season on Feb. 3, 2012, with Duke defeating Illinois, 7-0.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame is ranked 30th in the nation and is 3-2 in the early portion of the season, defeating Marquette in its last match, 4-0. The Irish boast four ranked players in their singles lineup, led by No. 80 Greg Andrews. Billy Pecor is ranked 88th, while Blas Moros and Wyatt McCoy are ranked 110th and 120th, respectively. Spencer Talmadge and Greg Andrews lead the squad in doubles with a No. 51 ranking. Duke will face the Irish for the 28th time in program history, with the Blue Devils leading the series, 19-8. The two teams played last season in Durham, with the Blue Devils winning the contest, 6-1.
For updates throughout the weekend, follow Duke men's tennis on twitter (@Duke_MTEN).
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