This weekend, the men's tennis team traveled to Seattle to compete in the ITA National Indoor Championships. The squad, ranked eighth nationally, opened the weekend with an encouraging victory against No. 9 Texas A&M before being squeezed out by top-seeded and defending national champion Illinois by a score of 4-3. In Saturday's consolation play, the Blue Devils trounced fourth-ranked Vanderbilt to bring Duke's record to 5-1.
The first match's greatest highlight for Duke was No. 1 singles, when All-American Phillip King defeated his Aggie opponent, Lester Cook, in straight sets. Fourth for the Blue Devils, Jason Zimmerman earned a three-set win, while Peter Rodrigues won in straight sets in the No. 6 spot to bring Duke a 4-1 win.
During the match against Illinois, Duke lost the doubles point, and the top-three of King, Ludovic Walter and Jonathan Stokke fell in straight sets. The bright spot for Duke was the play of the lower-ranked players like Rodrigues and Zimmerman, who both won in consecutive sets.
The consolation play saw three-set wins by Walter and King, as well as another straight-set victory for Rodrigues. Duke earned the doubles point, leading to a heartening 4-1 victory.
The Blue Devils will get another shot versus Illinois Saturday at home, when the top-ranked Illini defend their ranking at 6 pm.
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