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MTN: No. 23 Duke Posts 4-0 Victory Over No. 51 Radford to Advance to Second Round in NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament
   

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No. 23 Duke Posts 4-0 Victory Over No. 51 Radford to Advance to Second Round in NCAA Tournament



Knoxville, Tenn. – The No. 23 Duke Blue Devils survived some tough competition from the No. 51 Radford Highlanders in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament but pulled off a 4-0 victory to advance to Saturday’s second round against the winner of the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers/No. 61 East Tennessee State Buccaneers match.



Heavy rains in the Knoxville area forced a one hour delay in the schedule start time while also moving the match indoors.



Kiril Dimitrov, ranked No. 56 in the nation, survived a tough match at the No. 2 spot to clinch the victory over Ivan Salec, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Dimitrov fell behind 2-0 but roared back with six unanswered to win the first set. He would take a 2-1 in the second, but Salec showed some fight by winning the final five points. It was a dogfight in the third as they played even at 3-3 before Dimitrov took control and won the final three points.



“I’ve been in this situation many times this year. I felt very confident in finishing strong,” said Dimitrov. “It’s something I’ve been working on. I was confident I could pull it out.”



“Kiril came through in the end,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “There is no one I’d rather have in that situation. He seems to find a way. He doesn’t give them many winners. Their guy got hot in the second and Kiril hung in there.”



Duke won a hard-fought doubles point as a grueling match ensued at the No. 2 position where the No. 90 tandem of Dylan Arnould and David Holland posted a 9-8 (2) victory of Selec and Mehdi Benhammou. Salec and Benhammou took a 1-0 lead before Arnould and Holland won the next two. Duke maintained its one point lead at 4-3 before Radford rallied to take leads at 5-4, 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7. Arnould and Holland would hold serve to push the match to a tie breaker where they quickly took a 4-1 lead before winning 7-2, to clinch the doubles point.



Duke took control early in doubles as Reid Carleton and Torsten Wietoska lost the first point but then reeled off seven straight en route to the 8-2 victory over Igor Ogrizek and Stefan Bojic at the No. 3 position.



It was a back-and-forth match at No. 1 with Duke’s No. 54 pair of Dimitrov and Alain Michel jumping out to a 2-0 lead over Radford’s No. 74 tandem of Martin Sayer and Zack Watson. The Radford team then scored the next three before Duke tied it at 3. Sayer and Watson would win the next five points to take match 8-3 and even things up.



“I think we played great. It was a close match,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “We played very well. Doubles could have gone either way and that set the tone. We were fortunate to sneak out doubles with a win. That could have changed things. We were able to get two matches done quickly. No. 1 was a battle. We knew it would be going in.”



Jared Pinsky gave Duke a 2-0 lead in the match with his 6-4, 6-1, victory over Mehdi Benhammou. After falling behind 4-2, Pinsky scored the final four points to take the first set. He then went up 2-0 in the second before Benhammou took a point, but once again, Pinsky reeled off four more winners to take the match.



Dylan Arnould took a straight set win over Stefan Bojic, 6-4, 6-2, as Duke took a commanding 3-0 team lead. Arnould jumped out 4-0 before Bojic scored the next three points. They would split the next two before Arnould held serve for the victory.



Another exciting match occurred at No. 1 where No. 42 Reid Carleton of Duke and No. 102 Martin Sayer of Radford were battling it out in the third set before the match was called. Sayer took a 7-6 first set win with a dominating 7-2 win in the tiebreaker. Carleton rebounded strong with a 6-1 second win and led 3-0 in the third, capping a string of eight unanswered points.



“I have a lot of respect for Radford. It’s a top 30 team if they had more opportunities to play ranked teams,” said Smith. “They are a dangerous team with six guys that can play.”



The No. 5 and 6 singles matches had just gotten underway when Duke clinched.



Singles

1. #42 Reid Carleton (DU) vs. #102 Martin Sayer (RU) 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 3-0, unfinished

2. #56 Kiril Dimitrov (DU) def. Ivan Salec (RU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3

3. Dylan Arnould (DU) def. Stefan Bojic (RU) 6-4, 6-2

4. Jared Pinsky (DU) def. Mehdi Benhammou (RU) 6-4, 6-1

5. Alain Michel (DU) vs. Igor Ogrizek (RU) 1-1, unfinished

6. Torsten Wietoska (DU) vs. Zack Watson (RU) 2-2, unfinished

Order of Finish: (4, 3, 2)



Doubles competition

1. #54 Martin Sayer/Zack Watson (RU) def. #71 Kiril Dimitrov/Alain Michel (DU) 8-3

2. #90 Dylan Arnould/David Holland (DU) def. Ivan Salec/Mehdi Benhammou (RU) 9-8 (7-2)

3. Reid Carleton/Torsten Wietoska (DU) def. Igor Ogrizek/Stefan Bojic (RU) 8-2

Order of Finish: (3, 1, 2)

 


 

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