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Pair of ACC unbeatens, top-5 teams match up

The No. 5 men’s tennis team takes on the ACCs only other undefeated team today, third-ranked Virginia, at 1 p.m. in Ambler Tennis Stadium. With only a handful of conference matchups remaining, the winner will be the favorite to win the regular season title.

“We will definitely be fired up because we are both undefeated and there is a little more on the line,” junior Jonathan Stokke said. “We really talked at the beginning of the year that we would come out with the same intensity and play every match like we are playing a top-five team. So this shouldn’t be much different.”

Most of the Cavaliers (18-2, 6-0 in the ACC) are solid baseliners, and Stokke described them as “mentally tough.” The Blue Devils (15-2, 5-0) are riding a 10-game winning streak but the team’s ace, national No. 3 Ludovic Walter, lost both his singles and doubles match in the team’s last outing.

Walter will likely play No. 11 Doug Stewart, and Stokke expects to be matched up against No. 11 Somdev Devvarman. Stokke watched Devvarman, a freshman, play Duke teammate Peter Rodrigues in the fall, which should give Stokke an advantage today.

The Blue Devils have not lost since falling to top-ranked Baylor at National Team Indoors Feb. 11, but they have not faced a team as strong or as highly ranked as Virginia since then.

After playing the Cavaliers Friday, the Blue Devils head south to take on Miami (10-8, 1-6) Sunday. The Hurricanes top player is ranked only 95th in the latest ITA rankings.

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