CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 25th-ranked Duke men’s tennis team took No. 1 Virginia to the wire but could not come out on top as they suffered a 4-3 loss to the undefeated Cavaliers at the Boyd Tinsley Courts in Charlottesville, Va.
The Blue Devils were strong in doubles against Virginia, defeating a pair of top 15 doubles tandems to take the doubles point. Dylan Arnould and David Holland played together for the first time and came away with an 8-5 win over No. 14 Dominic Inglot and Michael Shabaz. Duke’s top pair of Kiril Dimitrov and Alain Michel then edged out No. 6 Houston Barrick and Sanam Singh in a tiebreaker 9-8 (9-7). Dimitrov and Michel pick up their 13th win of the year and fourth over a ranked opponent.
“I was impressed with our doubles,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “We put together two new doubles teams, and we came out with great energy and executed well. In singles, we competed hard but had trouble turning the momentum our direction. Dylan (Arnould) and Alain (Michel) played very well, but we just couldn’t get that fourth point. Virginia is solid throughout their lineup.”
Virginia showed why they have not lost in 22 previous matches this season, coming out and winning five of the six first sets in singles. Three players went on to finish off the matches in straight sets to put the Cavaliers up 3-1 in the match. Inglot and Singh each won the battles between ranked players in the top two spots. Inglot, ranked No. 17, defeated No. 38 Reid Carleton 7-6 (1), 6-0 and Singh (No. 25) downed Dimitrov (No. 55) 6-2, 6-2. Drew Courtney then handed Luke Marchese his first ACC loss and ended his 11-match winning streak with a 6-3, 7-5 win at the No. 6 spot.
Duke’s Dylan Arnould brought the Blue Devils back to within one with an upset win over No. 20 Shabaz at the No. 3 position. Arnould won in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 for his first win over a ranked opponent this season. He has won five straight singles contests to improve to 18-11 overall and 6-2 in ACC matches.
Barrick, who is ranked No. 73, clinched the match for the Cavaliers with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jared Pinsky. Michel then made the final score 4-3 with a win in three sets over Steven Eelkman Rooda. Michel earned his 14th singles win of the year and is now 4-3 in conference play.
The Blue Devils drop to 12-6 overall and 5-3 in the ACC while Virginia is now 23-0 overall and 8-0 in the conference.
Duke will be back in action on Sunday at 1 p.m. when they travel to Blacksburg, Va. to face No. 26 Virginia Tech.