While the rest of their classmates were relaxing on spring break, the Blue Devils kicked off ACC play with back-to-back victories.
No. 8 Duke (14-3, 2-0 in the ACC) recorded a 7-0 shutout against No. 24 Wake Forest Friday at Ambler Stadium and knocked off rival North Carolina (7-8, 0-2) with a 6-1 victory Sunday at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill.
The Blue Devils’ energy came from the play of their doubles teams, which won all six matches against the Demon Deacons and Tar Heels.
“It was a good weekend for us,” said head coach Ramsey Smith in a press release after the win against North Carolina. “That is the way we want to start off ACC play. Doubles set the tone again today. That was probably our best doubles point of the year. We did a really good job in singles as well.”
Leading the way for Duke in doubles play was the No. 9 team in the nation of Michael Redlicki and Jason Tahir. Playing in the second doubles slot, the pair defeated Wake Forest’s Danny Kreyman and Adam Lee 8-3 and took down the Tar Heels’ Nelson Vick and William Parker by an 8-1 final.
Senior Henrique Cunha had little trouble for the Blue Devils in the top singles spot. The No. 10 singles player in the country defeated Wake Forest’s David Hopkins in straight sets before notching a 6-4, 6-2 win against No. 35 Esben Hess-Olessen of North Carolina.
The team’s lone loss on the weekend came when North Carolina’s Parker notched a three-set victory against No. 55 Raphael Hemmeler 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Duke continues ACC play Friday when it travels for a difficult road match against No. 1 Virginia. The Blue Devils were swept by the Cavaliers when the teams met at the ITA National Team Indoors in Seattle last month.