Duke men's tennis shuts out Miami, Cunha stays unbeaten
Matching the Durham weather all week, the Blue Devils came out ablaze against Miami Sunday, not allowing the Hurricanes to win a single set in the match.
No. 9 Duke (19-4, 4-1 in the ACC) squashed Miami 7-0 to bring its win streak to five in a row.
“Overall, it was a really solid effort, especially in singles,” Blue Devil head coach Ramsey Smith said. “We didn’t lose a set, didn’t really come close to losing a set. Miami is a solid team and I am really happy with our performance.”
Jason Tahir paced the Blue Devils on the singles side against Miami (13-10, 2-6). The sophomore was the first to finish off his opponent, allowing Victor Mauz to take just one game in the match for a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
“He just didn’t really have a great game plan of how to win points, and it just boiled over [causing him to hit balls at the wall],” Tahir said. “And when you see your opponent doing that, it definitely makes you more confident.”
Tahir, who has lost just one singles match this season, has been extremely consistent and reliable at the sixth spot.
“Sometimes it’s a little lonely down there on court six, but [Jason’s] been doing it all year and has been dominating all year,” Smith said. “This match was particularly good. A lot of times that six spot can be tough, but he has been unbelievable. A lot of times, he’s that first guy off and he gives us that jump start of momentum. He’s been awesome.”
Tahir and freshman Michael Redlicki have been a force to reckon with at the number two spot in doubles. The underclassmen boast a record of 21-6 on the season when playing together and were again victorious Sunday with an 8-5 win.
“I haven’t played with a partner this long in a really long time,” Tahir said. “We have been playing together since the summer. It’s been good to have a consistent partner. We bring a lot of energy and when we are playing aggressively, we are pretty tough to beat.”
In addition to the Tahir-Redlicki tandem, Duke also has a powerful duo playing on court one. The nation’s No. 1 doubles team of senior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Raphael Hemmeler are 30-3 on the season.
“[Tahir and Redlicki’s] styles match pretty well, and they are both big guys,” Smith said. “They play really big-boy aggressive tennis and they could even win at the one position.”
Cunha also continued his dominant singles season with another win on court one, defeating Miami’s Diego Soto 6-1, 6-1. The Jau, Brazil native is currently undefeated in spring play. Hemmeler was also successful in singles, cruising to a 6-3, 6-3 decision against Marco Stancati. On court four, junior Chris Mengel routed Hurricane Omar Aly in an impressive 6-2, 6-0 victory.
On court two, Fred Saba downed Miami’s Gabriel Flores. And finally, Redlicki closed out the match with a 6-4, 6-3 victory at the third singles spot.
The Blue Devils will return to the court this weekend to take on Boston College Friday and N.C. State Sunday at Ambler Tennis Stadium in Duke’s last matches of the regular season.