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Duke University Men Team News
Duke Marches on to NCAA Round of 16
Tuesday, 05/12/2015

DURHAM, N.C. – For the fifth time in the last six years, the Duke men’s tennis team has advanced to the NCAA Team Championship round of 16. The Blue Devils won their regional Saturday by defeating No. 23 Stanford, 4-1, inside Ambler Tennis Stadium. The victory was Duke’s first in program history against the Cardinal during an NCAA match, and just the second overall triumph versus Stanford.

After dropping the doubles point, Duke stormed back with straight set singles wins from freshman Nicolas Alvarez, senior Raphael Hemmeler and junior Bruno Semenzato. The Blue Devils clinched the match with a three-set comeback from sophomore TJ Pura on court six.

Duke lifted its overall record to 24-6 with, tied for the sixth most wins in a year in program history. The Blue Devils finished the year 16-0 at home, becoming the ninth club to turn in an unbeaten home campaign. The 16 home victories are the second most in program history, just one behind the 1985 team’s record.

The Cardinal fought through an extremely tight doubles to earn an early 1-0 lead. Stanford has won 14 of its past 15 doubles points. On court one, the No. 9 team of John Morrissey and Robert Stinemen downed Duke’s No. 20 pair of Hemmeler and Alvarez, 8-7 (3). Stanford took a 2-0 lead, but Duke answered back with a hold and break to even the set at 2-2. After that, neither team had a lead of more than one game. In the tiebreaker, Alvarez and Hemmeler went up 2-0, but Stanford tallied four consecutive points to go up 4-2. Duke made it a 5-3 deficit, but the Cardinal scored the final two points for the win. Alvarez and Hemmeler dipped to 17-9 this year and 5-6 versus nationally ranked pairs.

The doubles point ended with an 8-6 setback on court two by Duke senior Jason Tahir and junior Josh Levineto Stanford’s No. 69 team of Tom Fawcett and Macik Romanowicz. With the teams tied at 3-3, Stanford broke and then held for a 5-3 advantage. Fawcett and Romanowicz then broke again to take a 6-3 lead. Tahir and Levine responded with a break and hold to make it just a 6-5 deficit. The two teams traded service wins during the final three games as Stanford took the set and doubles point. Tahir and Levine are now 19-6 on the season. It was just the pair’s second loss in its last 14 decisions.

On court three, Stanford’s David Wilczynski and Nolan Paige led Blue Devils Semenzato and Pura 7-6 when the match was halted.

In singles, Duke evened the match at 1-1 overall with a 6-4, 6-0 victory on court one by Alvarez against Fawcett. With the first set tied 3-3, Alvarez, ranked No. 14, broke and held to go ahead 5-3. Fawcett, ranked 26th, got one back to make it a 5-4 set, but Alvarez served out for the win. Alvarez breezed through the second set to earn his 30th win of the year, tied for the ninth most by a rookie in program history. Alvarez is now 30-9 this season and 12-9 versus ranked opponents. It was the first NCAA singles match of Alvarez’s career.

The Blue Devils took a 2-1 lead on court four, where Semenzato defeated David Hsu, 6-3, 6-2. The Semenzato win snapped an 11-match winning streak for Hsu. Semenzato jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first set before Hsu took another game. Semenzato served out to end the set. In the second set, Semenzato led 2-0 and 3-1 before Hsu went on a mini run and made it a 4-3 deficit. Semenzato held and broke in the final game to take the set and match. Semenzato is now 30-12 this season and 3-0 in his career in NCAA Team Championship matches.

Duke made it a 3-1 advantage on court three with a 6-4, 6-4 win from Hemmeler against David Wilczynski. In a first set that featured a combined four breaks, No. 57 Hemmeler turned a 3-3 tie into a 5-3 advantage and held on for the win. In the second set, Hemmeler jumped out to a 5-2 lead before Wilczynski came back with consecutive victories to narrow the deficit to 5-4. Hemmeler served out for the win and took the match. He improved to 35-9 this season and is 8-1 in career NCAA Team Championship matches. Hemmeler’s 35 victories tied his single-season career high and are tied for the sixth most in a year in program history. Hemmeler upped his career singles win total to 116, just two behind head coach Ramsey Smith for the third most by a Blue Devil.

The match ended with a fourth point for Duke coming from court six, where Pura came back to claim a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 victory against Paige. In the opening set, the two exchanged service game victories and were even at 5-5. Paige then broke and held to end the set. In the second set, it was Pura with the late break for the win. The two were tied 4-4 before Pura held on his serve and broke Paige to end the set. The deciding third set had Pura get an early break and take a 3-1 lead. Paige broke right back and evened the set at 3-3. Pura then went on a three game run to end the set and match. Pura is now 22-10 this season and 3-1 in career NCAA Team Championship matches.

Duke was ahead in deciding third sets when the other two matches were halted. On court two, No. 71 Morrissey won the first set 6-2 and No. 41 Tahir took the second 6-4. Tahir was ahead 5-4 in the third set. On court five, redshirt senior Chris Mengel lost his first set to Stineman 7-5 before winning the second 6-4. The third set had Mengel up 2-1.

Duke will face the winner of the No. 7 USC versus No. 40 San Diego State match Thursday, May 14, at 8 p.m. ET in the NCAA Team Championship round of 16.  Baylor University’s Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas, will serve as the host site.


#10 Duke 4 #23 Stanford 1
May 9, 2015 at Durham, N.C. (Ambler Tennis Stadium) 

Singles competition
1. #14 Nicolas Alvarez (DU) def. #26 Tom Fawcett (STAN) 6-4, 6-0
2. #41 Jason Tahir (DU) led #71 John Morrissey (STAN) 2-6, 6-4, 5-4 unfinished
3. #57 Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. David Wilczynski (STAN) 6-4, 6-4
4. Bruno Semenzato (DU) def. Davis Hsu (STAN) 6-2, 6-3
5. Chris Mengel (DU) led Robert Stineman (STAN) 5-7, 6-4, 2-1 unfinished
6. TJ Pura (DU) def. Nolan Paige (STAN) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3

Doubles competition
1. #9 John Morrissey/Robert Stineman def. #20 Raphael Hemmeler/Nicolas Alvarez (DU) 8-7 (3)
2. #69 Tom Fawcett/Maciek Romanowicz (STAN) def. Jason Tahir/Josh Levine (DU) 8-6
3. David Wilczynski/Nolan Paige (STAN) led Bruno Semenzato/TJ Pura. (DU) 7-6

Match Notes
Duke 24-6; National ranking #10
Stanford 18-7; National ranking #23
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (1,4,3,2)
NCAA Team Championship Second Round
Duke advances to NCAA Team Championship Round of 16
T-3:48 A-172