No. 9 Duke rallies after loss of doubles point to defeat No. 18 Florida State
DURHAM, N.C. -- After dropping the doubles point for just the fourth time this season, ninth-ranked Duke responded with six consecutive wins in singles to defeat No. 18 Florida State 6-1 Saturday afternoon at Ambler Tennis Stadium. The Blue Devils improved to 16-4 and 4-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play, while the Seminoles dropped to 14-6 and 2-3 in the ACC.
“I was really happy with how the guys responded [Saturday] in singles after losing the doubles point,” head coach Ramsey Smith said. “We did a really good job in singles and were able to get some big leads and that gave us momentum. That took some of the pressure off. It is good to face adversity like this.”
Florida State opened the match by claiming the doubles point with wins at the second and third positions. The duo of senior Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler claimed their seventh win in a row with a win at the No. 1 position against Benjamin Lock and Andres Bucaro. They broke serve to claim a 2-1 lead and never looked back, taking an 8-3 win. The Seminole duo of Anderson Reed and Jordan Kelly-Houston gave the Seminoles their first win of the day after they defeated the duo of Fred Saba and Chris Mengel on court three 8-5.
At the second position, the match stayed on serve until the Florida State pair of Cotrone and Davis earned the first break to take a 4-2 advantage. The teams traded games until Michael Redlicki and Jason Tahir broke serve at 5-5. The Seminole duo of Dominic Cotrone and Blake Davis held on to seal the doubles point for the Seminoles with an 8-6 win.
In singles, the Blue Devils came out of the gate strong in singles quickly taking five of six first sets against the Seminoles. Hemmeler evened the score after he claimed the first singles match of the day with a 6-0, 6-3 decision against Michael Rinaldi. The win for Hemmeler is his team-leading 27th victory of the season.
At the first position, Lock gained the early advantage after he was able to break serve against Cunha. However, Cunha responded by winning the next eight games en route to a 6-1, 6-4 victory. The win from Cunha gave Duke its first lead of the match 2-1 and kept his winning streak alive, allowing him to remain perfect for the spring with a 13-0 record.
Shortly after the conclusion of Cunha’s match, Redlicki drew the Blue Devils within one match of victory with a 6-4, 6-3 win at the third position. He went up a break at 5-3 in the first set and went on to take the set 6-4 before completing the consecutive set win. The win for Redlicki is his 24th of the season.
“I learned from past experiences that, regardless of what happens in doubles, just to forget about it,” Redlicki said. “Singles is a new match. I am by myself and I am worth a point, so are five other guys. I just focused on winning every individual point.”
At No. 6, Tahir cruised past Gonzalez-Mendez in the first set 6-1. In the second, he went down an early break 0-2 before responding to win three consecutive games to take a 3-2 advantage. Tahir and Gonzalez-Mendez traded games until Tahir closed out Gonzalez-Mendez in a tiebreak 6-1, 7-6 (6). The win from Tahir closed out the match against the Seminoles and is his 14th win of the spring.
At the fourth position, Mengel defeated Kelly-Houston 6-1, 7-6 (4), while Saba edged Florida State’s lone ranked singles player in No. 121 Cotrone 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (11-9). The win for Saba is his fourth consecutive against a ranked opponent.