Tallahassee, FL -- The No. 26 Florida State men’s tennis team (16-5, 7-1) suffered its first ACC loss of the season in a tight 4-3 match against No. 7 Duke (17-3, 6-1) today, Friday, April 6. The two teams battled at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center, as the Seminoles took the lead first by winning the doubles point.
“I thought the key to the match was there were four sets that we were up a break and Duke fought back to win the set,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “We had our opportunities in that first set (in singles) on court 2, 4 and 5 – we were up. That’s the difference in the match. Duke was able to come back from behind and win those sets. We are getting better. We are definitely a better them than when we were at the beginning of the year.”
The Seminoles stormed the court and were able to get a quick 8-1 win on court three. The tandem of junior Andres Bucaro and freshman Benjamin Lock nabbed the 8-1 win over Duke’s Fred Saba and Jason Tahir. The duo is now 17-3 on the season. The Seminoles lost the next match which was junior Anderson Reed and freshman Dominic Cotrone on court two. The duo lost 8-6.
With the doubles point on the line, it came down to the top spot in doubles, the No. 26 Duke duo of Henrique Cunha and Chris Mengel and Florida State’s Jordan Kelly-Houston and Blake Davis. Kelly-Houston and Davis had a good lead over Duke but the Blue Devils came back to make the score 7-6 in Florida State’s favor. The Seminoles held strong to win 8-6 with their second ranked win in a row.
“We played well in doubles,” continued Hultquist. “That was a very good team we beat at No. 1 doubles. I’m proud of that. In general it was a very good match. Duke showed why they are ranked No. 7 in the country. They are a very good team.”
After recognizing Jason Zafiros for Senior Day, the teams returned to the court for singles play. Duke’s No. 6 Cunha topped Kelly-Houston 6-2, 6-2 on court one to tie up the score. To take a 2-1 lead, Duke’s Raphael Hemmeler took down Zafiros 7-5, 6-2 in the fifth position. Zafiros was actually up in the first set, but the Blue Devil was able to fight back.
To tie the match back up was Lock on court six. The freshman took down Jason Tahir 6-1, 6-2 to gain his 10th win of the season. Duke took the lead again after Fred Saba defeated freshman Cristian Gonzalez Mendez 6-4, 6-3 on court four.
To tie the match back up at 3-3 was Bucaro on court three. The junior defeated his second ranked opponent of the spring by upsetting No. 106 Torsten Wietoska 7-5, 6-2. Bucaro is now 17-1 this spring and 7-1 in conference play.
The match point was on court two between No. 26 Mengel of Duke and FSU’s Davis. Davis fought hard but ultimately lost as Mengel won 6-4, 6-4.
“I look at a player like Benjamin (Lock) who hasn’t lost now since mid-February,” concluded Hultquist. “He has clearly gotten better. Andres (Bucaro) has had an incredible year. He adds to his win totals. Blake (Davis) has really improved. He fought hard today against a really good player. All of our guys have really improved and are making strides this year.”
Florida State closes out the home season Sunday with a noon match against No. 21 North Carolina. An Easter Egg Hunt will be between doubles and singles play at the tennis center. Follow the team on twitter at twitter.com/fsu_mtennis.
No. 7 Duke 4 def. No. 26 Florida State 3
1) Davis/Kelly-Houston (FSU) def. No. 26 Cunha/Mengel (DUKE) 8-6
2) Cale Hammond/Hemmeler (DUKE) def. Dominic Cotrone/Anderson Reed (FSU) 8-6
3) Bucaro/Lock (FSU) def. Saba/Tahir (DUKE) 8-1
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1
1) No. 6 Henrique Cunha (DUKE) def. Jordan Kelly-Houston (FSU) 6-2, 6-2
2) No. 26 Chris Mengel (DUKE) def. Blake Davis (FSU) 6-4, 6-4
3) Andres Bucaro (FSU) def. No. 106 Torsten Wietoska (DUKE) 7-5, 6-2
4) Fred Saba (DUKE) def. Cristian Gonzalez Mendez (FSU) 6-4, 6-3
5) Raphael Hemmeler (DUKE) def. Jason Zafiros (FSU) 7-5, 6-2
6) Benjamin Lock (FSU) def. Jason Tahir (DUKE) 6-1, 6-4
Order of finish: 1, 5, 6, 4, 3, 2*
Records: No. 28 Florida State (16-5, 7-1); No. 7 Duke (17-3, 6-1)