No. 24 Wake Forest moves on to final round of ACC championship
CARY, N.C. -- Senior Amogh Prabhakar won 7-6 in the third set in the deciding match as No. 24 Wake Forest rallied from a 3-0 deficit to stun No. 9 Duke 4-3 in the semifinals of the ACC Championship on Friday.
“It feels great,” Wake Forest head coach Tony Bresky said. “To win the way that we won – 7-6 in the third with our senior leader who was cramping at the end – you couldn’t ask for more than that.”
The Demon Deacons (20-7) will play for the 2013 ACC Championship on Sunday, taking on top-seed Virginia at 11 a.m.
“We’ve worked really hard and the guys are plenty fit, so I’m not worried about any lasting effects from [Szturday’s] match,” Bresky said. “We’re going to have to play our best tennis; there’s a reason that [Virginia is] No. 2 in the country. We’re going to have to come out and battle like we did today and believe that we can win.”
Wake Forest rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score at three, leaving the match to be decided at No. 4 singles where the Prabhakar, ranked No. 78 nationally, was battling Duke’s No. 52 Michael Redlicki in the third set.
The two players traded breaks throughout the set before Redlicki took his first lead at 6-5 and stepped up to the line to serve out the match for Duke. But Prabhakar, who was fighting cramps, broke the Redlicki at love to send the match to a deciding third-set tiebreak.
Prabhakar won the first point of the tiebreak, and on the second point, Redlicki was overruled by the chair umpire – his third overrule of the match – costing him an additional penalty point. With Prabhakar leading 4-0, Redlicki was overruled again. Since it was his fourth overrule of the match, he was assessed a game penalty, ending the tiebreak and the match and giving Wake Forest the win.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Prabhakar said. “I’ve wanted this really bad. [The seniors] have been here four years and we wanted one big signature win. We got one, and we have a chance to get another one [on Sunday], so we can’t wait.”
Duke snuck past Wake Forest in the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead in the match and the Blue Devils quickly pushed the lead to 3-0 with straight-set wins by No. 6 Henrique Cunha at No. 1 and Jason Tahir at No. 6.
Danny Kreyman got the comeback started at No. 2 singles, where he rolled past 37th-ranked Fred Saba 6-4, 6-2 to notch the highest-ranked win.
Freshman Jon Ho earned the Deacons second point at No. 5, smashing groundstrokes from all over the court to defeat No. 70 Raphael Hemmeler 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 for the first ranked victory of his career.
No. 105 Adam Lee was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set against Duke’s No. 112 Chris Mengel who broke Lee and then held to tie the score at five.
Lee fought through a tough service game to hold and take a 6-5 lead, and then jumped on Mengel in the next game, closing out the match 7-5, 7-5 to knot the score at three. Lee's victory was his 37th in singles this season, setting a Wake Forest school record.
Minutes later Prabhakar rallied to send his match to a third-set tiebreak.