DURHAM, N.C. – No. 4 Duke remains undefeated in conference play, improving to 4-0 in the ACC with a 6-1 victory over No. 43 Maryland on Sunday at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
“I am very happy with our performance today against a feisty Maryland team,” said Duke head coach Ramsey Smith. “We’ve been working hard on our doubles and we played a solid doubles point today to set the tone for the match. Our guys came out of the gates strong in singles which gave us a lot of momentum.”
The Blue Devils are now 13-6 overall on the year while the Terrapins drop to 9-7 overall and 1-4 in the ACC.
“Obviously I am excited with our start in the ACC season, winning our first four matches convincingly,” Smith said. “We have been making improvements as the season has progressed and everyone is playing with a lot of confidence. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to play UVA (Virginia), the No. 1 team in the country, at their place next weekend.”
Duke won five of its six singles matches and has now won 23 of the 24 singles contests during conference play this year.
Reid Carleton moved into a tie for 10th on Duke’s career singles wins list with his 93rd career victory. He cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Sergio Wyss and is now tied with David Hall and current assistant coach Jonathan Stokke. He also climbed into the top 10 for career ACC singles wins, tying Rob Chess, Peter Shults and Chris Pressley with his 22nd conference win.
“I can’t say enough good things about Reid,” Smith said. “He is a special kid and it has been rewarding to see how much he has improved since he first arrived on campus. His work ethic, passion for the game, and competitiveness has made him one of the very best college tennis players in the country. Reid has also matured into a great team leader, and he and Henrique have been the glue that has brought this team together and taken us to another level.”
Freshman Chris Mengel clinched Duke’s fourth ACC win of the year with a 6-2, 6-2 straight set victory against Tommy Laine at the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Mengel has won six straight matches and is now 23-9 overall and 4-0 in ACC play.
No. 11 Henrique Cunha was the first to finish on the day in singles. He swept the first set and won 6-3 in the second for his 26th victory of the season. He is 13-3 in dual matches and 4-0 in the ACC.
Freshman Fred Saba also won in straight sets. He trailed 5-4 in the second set but came back to win three consecutive games for the 6-1, 7-5 victory. He is 4-0 in ACC play and 22-12 overall.
After the match had been decided, the teams played out the remaining third sets with super tiebreakers. Duke’s Luke Marchese finished the match with an 11-9 win over Andy Magee at No. 6 to close out a tightly contested three-set match 7-5, 6-7 (5), 1-0 (11-9). Maryland’s Jesse Kiuru won the No. 5 super tiebreaker 10-4 after losing the first set to Jared Pinsky.
“I’m really proud of the guys fighting back in three matches after losing the first set so quickly,” Maryland head coach Kyle Spencer said. “We had chances in singles and doubles that we didn’t take which ultimately cost us.”
Spencer knew the Terps had a tough challenge facing a Duke lineup with three ranked singles players and the fourth-rated doubles unit in the country.
“We lost to a championship caliber team today but I’m excited for the rest of season,” Spencer said. “The guys are fighting hard and improving greatly.”
No. 4 Carleton and Cunha improved to 3-0 in the ACC and 15-1 in dual matches with a doubles victory over Maros Horny and Jan Surovic. The Duke pair is now 27-3 overall on the season. Carleton now has 30 doubles victories for the second straight season. He is one of three players in school history (Jordan Wile and Doug Root) to win 30 or more doubles matches in two separate seasons.
David Holland and Chris Mengel clinched the doubles point for the Blue Devils with an 8-6 victory at the No. 3 position. Maryland’s John Collins and Tommy Laine had won the two previous games to make it 7-6 and were up 40-15 with two break chances, but Mengel and Holland battled back to take the game for an 8-6 final.
Duke will now face a five-match streak on the road starting with two matches at No. 1 Virginia next weekend while the Terrapins play four of their final six ACC matches at home.