SEATTLE, Wash. – The #5 Pepperdine men’s tennis team fell in a closely fought battle, 4-1, to #9 Duke to close out the ITA Indoor National Championship. After the three-match weekend, the Waves are now 6-2 overall in 2013.
Although all three of the Blue Devils’ doubles teams are ranked, the unranked Wave duos were very evenly matched with their opponents. #33 Fred Saba and Chris Mengel edged David Sofaer (Bellevue, Australia/Sydney Distance Education HS) and Mousheg Hovhannisyan (North Hollywood, Calif./Continental Academy) 8-6, but Pepperdine answered with a win from the No. 1 spot in the lineup.
Francis Alcantara (Cagayan de Oro, Philippines/Fresno State) and Finn Tearney (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) downed #2-ranked Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeler 8-6. It was just the second loss for Cunha and Hemmeler in 2013. Meanwhile, Alcantara and Tearney improved to 5-1.
The final match would be determined in the tiebreaker. Alex Sarkissian (Glendale, Calif./Glendale CC) and Sebastian Fanselow (Essen, Germany/Kaplan College Prep) fought game-for-game with #18 Michael Redlicki and Jason Tahir, but eventually fell in the tiebreaker.
Down a point heading into singles, the Waves had an uphill battle to climb. Alcantara put Pepperdine on the board with a convincing 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Mengel – ranked #53 in singles.
The Blue Devils answered with wins on courts five and six to take a 3-1 advantage.
The remaining three matches needed all three sets to determine a winner. Sarkissian earned a victory in the first set 6-1 but #15 Redlicki answered with narrow 7-6, 6-4 wins in the second and third sets to clinch the victory for Duke
In a battle of top-10 ranked players, #4 Fanselow was tied 5-5 in the third set against #9 Cunha when action was halted. Tearney was about to start his third set versus Saba.
The Waves return to the court on Feb. 23, when they face Florida State at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Pepperdine defeated the Seminoles earlier this season, 5-2, during the final match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
Duke vs Pepperdine
Feb 17, 2013 at Seattle, Wash.
(Nordstrom Tennis Center)
#9 Duke 4, #5 Pepperdine 1
1. #4 Sebastian Fanselow (PEP) vs. #9 Henrique Cunha (DUKE) 6-3, 4-6, 5-5, unfinished
2. #105 Finn Tearney (PEP) vs. #31 Fred Saba (DUKE) 2-6, 7-6, unfinished
3. #15 Michael Redlicki (DUKE) def. #89 Alex Sarkissian (PEP) 1-6, 7-6, 6-4
4. Francis Alcantara (PEP) def. #53 Chris Mengel (DUKE) 6-1, 6-3
5. #57 Raphael Hemmeler (DUKE) def. Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP) 6-2, 6-4
6. Jason Tahir (DUKE) def. David Sofaer (PEP) 6-4, 6-4
1. Francis Alcantara/Finn Tearney (PEP) def. #2 Henrique Cunha/Raphael Hemmeler (DUKE) 8-6
2. #18 Michael Redlicki/Jason Tahir (DUKE) def. Sebastian Fanselow/Alex Sarkissian (PEP) 8-7
3. #33 Fred Saba/Chris Mengel (DUKE) def. David Sofaer/Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP) 8-6
Duke 11-2; National ranking #9
Pepperdine 6-2; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (4,5,6,3)