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Top-Ranked Virginia Edges No. 8 Duke 4-3 in ACC Opener

Mac Styslinger

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March 22, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE - The top-ranked Virginia men's tennis team opened its conference schedule Friday with a 4-3 victory over No. 8 Duke in front of 702 fans on a cool afternoon at the Snyder Tennis Center. The Cavaliers (12-0, 1-0 ACC) extended their win streak to 94 consecutive victories over ACC competition, while the Blue Devils (14-4, 2-1 ACC) suffered its first conference loss of the season.

"We have so much respect for Duke and they played a great match," said head coach Brian Boland. "I think we grew a lot as a team today. We had to play in some tough conditions against a quality opponent. When you are battling against the elements and good competition, it forces you to be tougher. That is why I was glad we played this match outdoors and we learned a lot about ourselves today."

Virginia won the doubles point to start the match, which proved to be crucial. The Blue Devils took the early edge as they won a matchup of the nation's top two ranked doubles teams. Top-ranked Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler downed second-ranked Jarmere Jenkins (College Park, Ga.) and Mac Styslinger (Birmingham, Ala.) 8-3 at the No. 1 position. At No. 2, Alex Domijan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and Mitchell Frank (Annandale, Va.) brought the Cavaliers even as they posted their highest ranked win of their career as a team, downing ninth-ranked Jason Tahir and Michael Redlicki 8-3. With the opening point on the line, Justin Shane (Falls Church, Va.) and Julen Uriguen(Guatemala City, Guatemala) topped Chris Mengel and Fred Saba 8-5 at No. 3 to give Virginia a 1-0 lead in the dual match.

In singles, the Virginia lead was quickly doubled. Frank needed less than an hour to dispatch of Redlicki at No. 3, winning 6-0, 6-0. The Blue Devils answered with three wins to give them a 3-2 lead in the match. Hemmeler got Duke on the board with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Shane at No. 5. In a battle of two former ACC Players of the Year, Cunha defeated Jenkins 6-4, 6-0 at No. 1 singles to even the match at 2-2. Saba followed by upsetting Domijan, the nation's top-ranked player, 7-5, 7-5 at No. 2 singles to give Duke the lead.

The Cavaliers needed to win the final two matches on the courts to keep their ACC win streak alive. Styslinger, who had won the first set 6-1 over Mengel at No. 4, had two opportunities to serve for the match, but the second set went to a tiebreaker. Styslinger saved a set point at 5-6 in the breaker before winning the next four of the final five points to record a 6-1, 7-6(7) victory to even the match at 3-3.

In the decisive match at No. 6, Uriguen trailed 4-2 in the first set against Tahir before drawing even at 4-4. Tahir broke at 5-5 to serve for the first set at 6-5, but Uriguen broke back to force a breaker, which he won 8-6 to take the opening set. He went up a break midway through the second set and held serve the rest of the way to close out the match-clinching 7-6(6), 6-4 win.

"We struggled in some areas today," said Boland. "Some guys who have been so consistent for us all season had an off day, but that's going to happen at times. They will bounce back. What is great about that is it gives other guys an opportunity to feel the pressure and have the chance to play last match on with your team depending on you. Mac and Julen rose to the occasion today and I am very proud of them for how they closed out this victory."

Virginia continues its homestand on Sunday as it hosts No. 70 North Carolina. Match time is 1 p.m. Check VirginiaSports.com for the latest information on the location (indoors or outdoors) of that match.

#1 VIRGINIA 4, #8 DUKE 3

Doubles:
1. #1 Cunha/Hemmeler (Duke) def. #2 Jenkins/Styslinger (UVa) 8-3
2. #46 Frank/Domijan (UVa) def. #9 Redlicki/Tahir (Duke) 8-3
3. #27 J.Shane/J.Uriguen (UVa) def. #25 Mengel/Saba (Duke) 8-5

Singles:
1. #10 Henrique Cunha (Duke) def. #5 Jarmere Jenkins (UVa) 6-4, 6-0
2. #27 Fred Saba (Duke) def. #1 Alex Domijan (UVa) 7-5, 7-5
3. #81 Mitchell Frank (UVa) def. #26 Michael Redlicki (Duke) 6-0, 6-0
4. #12 Mac Styslinger (UVa) def. #89 Chris Mengel (Duke) 6-1, 7-6(7)
5. #55 Raphael Hemmeler (Duke) def. Justin Shane (UVa) 6-3, 6-2
6. Julen Uriguen (UVa) def. Jason Tahir (Duke) 7-6(6), 6-4

Order of Finish
Doubles: 1,2,3
Singles: 3,5,1,2,4,6


 

 

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Jeff White

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jwhite@virginia.edu

A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.

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