In the highly anticipated match between the Duke men’s tennis team and NC State, in Durham. Duke eventually defeated NC State 4-3. Earlier on Sunday, Duke upset Wake Forest (21-8, 5-3) in Friday’s game in Durham. That victory was taken in stunning fashion by Rodenas (7-6, 3-6, 6-4) on court two.
Continuing to ride the adrenaline of an undefeated weekend, the Blue Devils will dress up for the last road trip of the season, a Saturday matchup just across town at #13 North Carolina Coach Smith said: “It was great to come home.
I think we got a lot tougher and figured out a lot about ourselves with the six-game road stretch. The captains led the way. They were great.” Krug: “It’s a good feeling to finish the game. That feeling is exactly why we all play this sport and why we spend hours on the training ground.
I think there’s nothing like it, so I cherish those moments whenever they happen.” As reported by The Chrinocal, Duke’s first tandem of Garrett Johns and Pedro Rodenas secured the first win of the day for the Blue Devils, beating Robin Catry and Luca Staeheli 7-5.
The Wolfpack, however, stole the double point with a dominant tiebreaker against Duke’s Michael Heller and Andrew Zhang. In the final moments of the match, Zhang struggled to find a way to score points: his unforced errors plagued the duo as his return aggression seemingly diminished.
Zhang’s struggles, however, were short-lived. On the singles court, after swapping out his signature Nike headband for a bright white Duke cap, the team co-captain gave an offensive masterclass. Quick to his feet, he returned Braden Shick’s powerful serves and well-placed jabs.
On Schick’s serves, the Blue Devil’s groundstrokes gave him a competitive edge over his less experienced counterpart. He outscored Shick 6-2 in the first set. A couple of break points later, he took the second set 6-1, giving Duke his first single point of the day.
After taking a quick swig from his green bottle of Gatorade, Zhang called his teammates’ games on nearby courts. His drenched white shirt, black sports tape carefully fixed on his service shoulder, the product of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, expressed encouraging words, exuding the winning energy of him.
That energy was well received on the high court: No. 17 Johns, the team’s other co-captain, followed in Zhang’s footsteps soon after, downing No. 52 Rafa Izquierdo Luque 6-2, 6-3 without too many problems. With three singles matches advancing into the third set, Sunday’s intrastate matchup remained level at 2-2.
Both teams had an equal chance of winning the match, and both teams eagerly awaited a spark of energy. Connor Krug raised his fists, looking towards his teammates, after winning a break point on court four. Rodenas roared with glee as his teammates answered him in Spanish after a break point on second court. Andrew Dale silenced the energetic Fons Van Sambeek after a break point on court five.