In 1996, when the Duke men's tennis team started its ACC regular season winning streak, Phillip King was still in junior high, far from his three consecutive All-America selections, and Ludovic Walter was in grade school in France, yet to achieve his national No. 9 national ranking.
With King and Walter now leading No. 15 Duke (7-4, 1-0 in the ACC), the team continued to show its dominance in the ACC by winning its 58th straight league match with a 7-0 sweep of Georgia Tech (6-3, 1-1) Saturday.
"We don't really talk about the streak," head coach Jay Lapidus said. "I think when teams come to play us, they know we're going to be hard to beat."
Duke was upset at the No. 1 doubles position, but the defeat did not end up costing the Blue Devils a point. The No. 4 power duo of Walter and Jason Zimmermann was upset by Marko Rajevac and Scott Schnugg of Georgia Tech.
"We certainly had the favored team," Lapidus said. "We just didn't play a good match. We looked mentally a little disheveled. Jason and Ludovic have not been playing well the last couple of weeks, so hopefully they can rebound soon."
After the loss at No. 1 and a Jonathan Stokke and King 8-4 victory in the second flight, the doubles point came down to a tiebreaker at No. 3. Peter Shults and Peter Rodrigues defeated Georgia Tech's Joao Menano and Zachary Rath 9-8 (5).
In singles action, it was a clean sweep for Duke, with only two of the six matches going into a third set. At No. 2 singles, Walter secured a victory against Jason Pieters with a 6-2 edge in the third set. The other match to go into three sets was at No. 3 singles between Rodrigues and West Nott. Rodrigues, a freshman, dominated Nott in their third set to earn a victory.
"[Rodrigues is] actually amazing and comes through very well under pressure," Lapidus said. "I didn't foresee him coming through and being such an asset."
At first singles, No. 21 King defeated Schnugg 6-4, 6-0. Straight set wins also came from Zimmermann, Stokke and Christopher Brown at four through six singles.
In its next match, Duke hosts Texas at home this Friday.
"They're dangerous," Lapidus said about Texas. "They started out a little slow, but they are a perennial college tennis powerhouse."
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