TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 13th-ranked Duke men’s tennis team extended its win streak to four consecutive matches, topping No. 30 Florida State by a 5-2 margin Sunday afternoon at the Seminoles’ Scott Speicher Tennis Center. With the victory, the squad improved to 14-5 overall and 6-1 against ACC competition.
The Blue Devils held a 1-0 advantage after a long doubles point, posting wins on courts one and two. In the No. 1 matchup, the tandem of senior Fred Saba and junior Raphael Hemmeler cruised to an 8-0 decision over the 41st-ranked pair of Blake Davis and Dominic Cotrone. Saba and Hemmeler improved to 11-3 overall and 5-1 in ACC play.
The remaining contests on courts two and three both went into tiebreakers, with junior Jason Tahir and sophomore Josh Levine finishing first on court two. The Blue Devils edged Florida State’s Marco Nunez and Cristian Gonzalez Mendez by an 8-7 (2) score, picking up their third-straight win and securing the doubles point for Duke in the process.
On court three, sophomores Bruno Semenzato and Daniel McCall lost a tight 8-7 (9-7) contest to Michael Rinaldi and Grayson Goldin of the Seminoles.
The two teams split first sets in singles, with the Blue Devils taking first sets on courts one, two and six. Freshman TJ Pura won his sixth consecutive dual match, topping the Seminoles’ João Gauer in the No. 6 slot, 6-1, 6-2. Pura, who now owns an overall ledger of 17-5, has won 10-straight matches dating back to the fall season.
Florida State got on the board with a victory in the No. 5 contest, as Levine dropped a 6-1, 6-3 decision to Goldin. However Duke countered with a straight-sets win on court two, where 54th-ranked Saba defeated 65th-ranked Cristian Gonzalez Mendez, 6-0, 6-4, to extend the Blue Devils’ lead in the match to 3-1. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Saba moved to 16-6 on the season and 8-2 at the No. 2 spot in the lineup with the win.
Semenzato, the 71st-ranked player in the ITA singles poll, clinched a team victory for the second time in as many weekends. He rebounded from a dropped first set to outlast the Seminoles’ Nunez, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, on court four. Semenzato now sits at 26-8 for the season and 12-2 from the No. 4 position.
With the match in hand, Hemmeler added a win on court three, rallying from a tough first set tiebreaker to defeat Davis in a third set super tiebreak, 1-0 (10-4). The remaining contest on court one saw 48th-ranked Tahir fall to No. 101 Cotrone in three grueling sets, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Following Sunday’s action, Duke returns home to host Clemson Friday, Apr. 11 at 12 p.m. and Georgia Tech Sunday, Apr. 13 at 1 p.m. Live video and live scoring will be available for both matches.
#13 Duke 5, #30 Florida State 2 Apr 06, 2014 at Tallahassee, Fla. (Scott Speicher Tennis Center)