CLEMSON, S.C. - Wake Forest freshman Jon Ho converted on his fifth match point at No. 5 singles to lead the No. 25 Demon Deacons to a 4-3 win over No. 24 Clemson on Sunday at the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center in Clemson, S.C.
The Deacons (18-7, 7-3 ACC) had dug themselves into a massive hole, losing the doubles point and dropping the first set in five of the six singles matches, but they rallied back to take the second set in all five of those matches and eventually won three three-setters to earn the come-from-behind victory.
"It was a great win for us. Clemson has a really tough team," said head coach Tony Bresky. "We obviously got off to a really tough start losing the doubles point and five first sets. Our guys are tough and are great competitors. I knew that our guys were going to fight and that Clemson was going to have to take the match from us."
After freshman Anthony Delcore had rallied to win at No. 6 singles and give Wake Forest its first lead of the day at 3-2, it was Ho's turn to play hero for the Demon Deacons. The rookie broke Clemson's Zachary Rigsby early in the third set and held onto the break all the way through the final frame. Ho earned four match points on Rigsby's serve at 5-3, and while he could not win the match there, he converted on his first match point on his serve in the next game to give the Demon Deacons the win.
With the victory, Wake Forest locked up a third place finish in the conference, its highest since 2010, and the No. 3 seed in next week's ACC Championship. The Demon Deacons have a bye in the first round and will open tournament play on Friday at 3 p.m. at Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C. against an opponent still to be determined.
"Third place is a big jump from last year when we finished 10th," said Bresky. "I'm hoping we can go to the ACC Tournament and have a good run. The goal of any team going into any tournament you play is to win the tournament. It's not going to be easy, but that's certainly our goal."
Ho's win at No. 5 was far from the only impressive singles performance by a Demon Deacon. Delcore, a freshman who was playing singles in an ACC match for the first time, came back against Clemson freshman Austin Ansari at No. 6, beating him 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to give Wake Forest at 4-3 lead.
That was set up by Danny Kreyman, who outlasted Dominique Maden in a third-set tiebreak 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) to tie the score at 2-2.
No. 110 Adam Lee had notched Wake Forest's first point in the only straight-set singles match of the day, beating Gerardo Meza 6-4, 6-4 at No. 4. The win was Lee's 35th of the season, tying him for second place on the Wake Forest single-season charts. He is one singles win away from Derrick Spice's record 36 wins in 2002.
The Tigers prevailed in a tight doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. Hunter Harrington and Gerardo Meza finished first for Clemson, topping Jon Ho and Sam Bloom 8-6. Wake Forest's No. 2 team of Adam Lee and Danny Kreyman leaped out to a big lead before holding on to win 8-5 over Ayrton Wibowo and Zachary Rigsby.
In addition to the doubles point, Clemson's two wins came at the top two positions. No. 24 Yannick Maden beat Hopkins 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 6-2 at No. 1, and Hunter Harrington topped No. 74 Prabhakar 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at No. 2.
#25 Wake Forest 4, #24 Clemson 3
1. #24 Yannick Maden (CU) def. David Hopkins (WF) 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (4-7), 6-2
2. Hunter Harrington (CU) def. #74 Amogh Prabhakar (WF) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
3. Danny Kreyman (WF) def. Dominique Maden (CU) 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
4. #110 Adam Lee (WF) def. Gerardo Meza (CU) 6-4, 6-4
5. Jon Ho (WF) def. Zachary Rigsby (CU) 6-7, 6-2, 6-4
6. Anthony Delcore (WF) def. Austin Ansari (CU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
1. #15 Yannick Maden/Dominique Maden (CU) def. #39 David Hopkins/Amogh Prabhakar (WF) 8-4
2. Danny Kreyman/Adam Lee (WF) def. Zachary Rigsby/Ayrton Wibowo (CU) 8-5
3. Hunter Harrington/Gerardo Meza (CU) def. Jon Ho/Sam Bloom (WF) 8-6
Wake Forest 18-7 (7-3 ACC); National ranking #25
Clemson 16-6 (6-4 ACC); National ranking #24
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1*); Singles (4,2,3,6,5*,1)