RALEIGH, N.C. – The 10th-ranked Duke men’s tennis team opened ACC play in convincing fashion Sunday, sweeping No. 19 NC State, 7-0, at the Wolfpack’s Dail Outdoor Tennis Stadium. With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 8-3 overall while starting conference action with a 1-0 ledger.
"We played a great match today start to finish," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "I was very impressed with our itensity, focus and urgency in the doubles point, and that really set the tone for the dual match."
Continuing its trend of strong doubles play, the squad secured the point for the fourth consecutive match. Senior Fred Saba and junior Raphael Hemmeler extended their win streak to five matches, leading the Blue Devils off the courts with an 8-4 victory over NC State’s Simon Norenius and Sean Weber in the No. 2 contest. Playing together for the first time this season, redshirt junior Cale Hammond and sophomore Bruno Semenzato followed with an 8-5 win against Austin Powell and Beck Bond on court three to give Duke a 1-0 lead in the match.
On court one, 33rd-ranked Michael Redlicki and Jason Tahir topped the Wolfpack’s 42nd-ranked tandem of Robbie Mudge and Ian Dempster, 8-7 (4) to move to 4-2 on the spring.
The Blue Devils kept the momentum rolling in singles, taking first sets on five of the six courts. Tahir, the 40th-ranked player in the ITA poll, earned his eighth consecutive win by racing to a 6-2, 6-2 decision against No. 91 Mudge on court two. Hemmeler followed suit, turning in a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Norenius from the No. 5 spot in the lineup.
Semenzato then clinched the match from the No. 4 spot as he defeated Weber by scores of 6-2, 6-2. The 94th-ranked singles player in the country, Semenzato is now 6-1 from the No. 4 position and 20-6 for the season.
Saba, listed 58th in the ITA singles rankings, captured a 7-5, 6-1 victory on court three against No. 122 Thomas Weigel of NC State and 37th-ranked Redlicki collected his fourth win of the season over a ranked opponent, dispatching No. 45 Powell 6-3, 7-5 in the No. 1 contest. A winner of five straight singles matches, Redlicki is now 5-1 in dual matches and 14-5 overall.
On court six, sophomore Josh Levine rebounded from a dropped first set to outlast Nick Horton in a third set tiebreaker, 11-9. The decision also marked Levine’s team-leading 21st singles victory of the season.
Duke will take its three-match win streak on the road as the team heads to San Diego, California for a pair of matchups against San Diego State Thursday, March 13 and Oklahoma Saturday, March 15.
#10 Duke 7, #19 NC State 0 Mar 09, 2014 at Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Outdoor Tennis Stadium)