SAN DIEGO – Tenth-ranked Duke came up just short in an upset bid against No. 2 Oklahoma Saturday, falling by a 4-3 score on neutral courts at the University of San Diego’s Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center.
The contest wrapped up a two-match road swing to San Diego for the Blue Devils (9-4, 1-0 ACC), who now return home to Durham for an important upcoming weekend of ACC competition.
The Sooners took an early 1-0 lead in Saturday’s match with wins on two courts in doubles. Duke’s tandem of senior Fred Saba and junior Raphael Hemmeler fell to the 36th-ranked pair of Dane Webb and Andrew Harris, 8-3, in the No. 1 spot. Sophomores Josh Levine and Daniel McCall also went up against a ranked Oklahoma team, dropping an 8-5 decision against No. 75 Peerakit Siributwong and Nick Papac in the No. 3 contest.
On court two, junior Jason Tahir and sophomore Bruno Semenzato were trailing the Sooners’ Axel Alvarez Llamas and Guillermo Alcorta, 4-5, when the match was abandoned.
In singles play, the Blue Devils rebounded to claim first sets on three courts. Saba, the 58th-ranked player in the ITA singles poll, knocked off No. 35 Harris of Oklahoma, 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 3 match for his fourth win of the season over a ranked opponent. Hemmeler also won in straight sets on court five, defeating Papac to improve to 8-3 in dual match play.
In the No. 6 contest, Levine and the Sooners’ Austin Siegel split the first two sets before the Blue Devil sophomore cruised to a 6-2 win in the decisive set. However, Oklahoma earned a pair of victories at the top of the lineup as No. 2 Alvarez topped No. 30 Michael Redlicki, 6-4, 6-2, in the No. 1 slot and 40th-ranked Tahir suffered a 6-4, 6-4 setback to No. 5 Alcorta in the No. 2 position. Semenzato, listed 92nd in the latest ITA rankings, was unable to slow No. 43 Webb in a third set on court four, surrendering only his third loss of the spring season.
Duke’s schedule gets no easier this week, as the squad hosts No. 46 Virginia Tech Friday, March 21 at 3 p.m. and No. 5 Virginia Sunday, March 23 at 3 p.m. The match against the Cavaliers will be broadcast live on ESPN3 in conjunction with College MatchDay, the nationwide series spotlighting college tennis.
Stay tuned to GoDuke.com for more information about College MatchDay and the interactive Fan Experience trailer that will be visiting Duke’s campus March 23.
#2 Oklahoma 4, #10 Duke 3 Mar 15, 2014 at San Diego, Calif. (Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center)