WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - David Hopkins rallied in the third set of the decisive No. 1 singles match to lead the 26th-ranked Wake Forest men's tennis team to a marathon 4-3 victory over No. 27 Florida State on Friday at the Leighton Courts at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
Hopkins had trailed No. 125 Dominic Cotrone of Florida State 3-1 in the final set at No. 1 singles but would lose only one game the rest of the way. With the overall team score tied at 3-3, the Demon Deacon senior and Wake Forest native drove an unreturnable crosscourt backhand on match point to close out Cotrone 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and give the Deacons a pivotal ACC victory.
"It came down to the last match on court, and (Hopkins) handled himself like a champion and pulled it out for us," said head coach Tony Bresky. "As we saw with his finish, he was clutch under pressure as he's been many, many times for us. It's obviously a special occasion for him being able to pull that match out at home, being a senior in his second-to-last match at home during the regular season."
With the win, the Demon Deacons (16-6, 5-2 ACC) moved into sole possession of fourth place in the ACC with three conference matches remaining on the schedule.
Wake Forest started the match strong by winning what proved to be a key doubles point - no small feat considering the fact that Florida State (16-7, 3-4 ACC) fielded a lineup of three nationally ranked teams.
Danny Kreyman and Adam Lee struck first No. 2 with their first ranked win of the season, beating No. 34 Cotrone and Blake Davis 8-4. 47th-ranked Hopkins and Amogh Prabhakar sealed the point for the Deacons at the top position, downing No. 40 Andres Bucaro and Benjamin Lock in a tiebreak 9-8 (2).
"We played a really strong doubles point, which was great," said Bresky. "(Florida State has) won a lot of doubles points during the year, and we knew that we were kind of the underdog going into that point, so that was a big point for us to get the match started on the right foot."
The Demon Deacons got off to a hot start in singles, surging to big early leads and taking quick first sets on the top four courts, but the Seminoles fought back to set up a close finish. No. 62 Amogh Prabhakar and No. 105 Adam Lee won for Wake Forest at No. 3 and No. 4, while Michael Rinaldi and Cristian Gonzalez Mendez gave Florida State victories at No. 5 and No. 6 to make the score 3-2 in the Deacons' favor, setting up a close finish.
That left Hopkins at No. 1 and Kreyman at No. 2, where he was battling Florida State's Lock, as the only two matches on court with the Deacons needing to win one of them to win the match. Kreyman went back and forth with Lock through the entire set before Lock broke him in the final game to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. But only a few minutes later, Hopkins finished off Cotrone to give the Deacons the win.
"This was a big win for me and for the team," said Hopkins. "It's definitely up there (as one of the best), especially now that we're a much improved team with great NCAA and ACC hopes and potential."
No. 62 Prabhakar, playing at the third spot, easily blanked Florida State's Anderson Reed in the first set at the third position, but the second set went down to the wire with a decisive tiebreaker. Trailing 6-3 in the seven-point tiebreaker, the senior Deacon won the next five points to take the match, 6-0, 7-6 (8-6).
No. 105 Lee stretched his winning streak to six matches by cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Jordan Kelly-Houston at No. 4. Former Wake Forest All-American Todd Paul, who was in attendance, saw Lee post his 32nd singles win of the season, equaling Paul, as well as Cory Parr and David Loewnthal, for the third-highest single-season total in school history.
Playing in his sixth match this season, freshman Morgan Mays fell to Cristian Gonzalez Mendez, 6-3, 6-1 at the sixth spot, and fellow freshman Jon Ho dropped a 6-3, 6-4 decision to Michael Rinaldi at No. 5.
Wake Forest heads to Boston College on Sunday and then finishes out its season at home on April 19 against North Carolina 3 p.m. at Leighton Courts.at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex. The match against the Tar Heels will serve as the Deacons' Senior Day, and a USTA Campus Kid's Day will also take place with activities for children of all ages.
#26 Wake Forest 4, #27 Florida State 3
1. David Hopkins (WF) def. #125 Dominic Cotrone (FS) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
2. Benjamin Lock (FS) def. Danny Kreyman (WF) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
3. #62 Amogh Prabhakar (WF) def. Anderson Reed (FS) 6-0, 7-6 (8-6)
4. #105 Adam Lee (WF) def. Jordan Kelly-Houston (FS) 6-2, 6-2
5. Michael Rinaldi (FS) def. Jon Ho (WF) 6-3, 6-4
6. C. Gonzalez Mendez (FS) def. Morgan Mays (WF) 6-3, 6-1
1. #47 David Hopkins/Amogh Prabhakar (WF) def. #40 Andres Bucaro/Benjamin Lock (FS) 9-8 (7-2)
2. Danny Kreyman/Adam Lee (WF) def. #34 Blake Davis/Dominic Cotrone (FS) 8-4
3. #89 Anderson Reed/Jordan Kelly-Houston (FS) def. Jon Ho/Sam Bloom (WF) 8-4
Florida State 16-7 (3-4 ACC); National ranking #27
Wake Forest 16-6 (5-2 ACC); National ranking #26
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1*); Singles (6,4,5,3,2,1*)