The University of Miami men’s tennis team lost their second straight match, falling to Duke 5-2 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.
The Blue Devils (5-7, 2-0) surprised the No. 20 Hurricanes (9-4, 2-2), gaining an early 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and 3 positions. Miami’s 54th-ranked duo of Vivek Subramanian and David Rosenfeld accounted for UM’s lone doubles victory with a 7-6 decision on the No. 2 court.
Miami’s top doubles tandem of Daniel Vallverdu and Carl Sundberg looked poised to give the Canes an early advantage, leading 7-5 in their match, but Duke’s David Goulet and Christopher Price fought back to even the match at 7-7. After exchanging points to make it 8-8, Duke’s unranked duo finally overcame Miami’s No. 24-ranked doubles team, capturing a tie breaker and winning the match 9-8.
“It was a huge win,” said Price, a freshman. “We were struggling with our returns a little bit and overall it was a close match, but it was amazing to pull out.”
“It really hurt us not winning the doubles point,” said Miami coach Mario Rincon. “I thought we were in a position to win it, but unfortunately we couldn’t close it out.”
A 1-0 deficit was not the only setback Miami faced going into singles play. Rosenfeld would not participate due to a knee injury suffered in Tuesday’s practice, forcing Subramanian to play on the No. 2 court. But even Subramanian was not at full health, as the team’s only senior was busy battling a fever.
Duke’s No. 51 Goulet beat Subramanian 6-3, 6-4 in the first singles match completed, giving the Blue Devils a 2-0 advantage. Vallverdu, ranked fourth nationally, ended his match against Kiril Dimitrov shortly after, bouncing back from his doubles loss with a dominating 6-2, 6-2 win to pull Miami within a point at 2-1.
Just minutes later, Duke’s No. 57 Reid Carleton defeated Keith Crowley 6-4, 6-2, and Miami’s Barnabas Carrega beat Duke’s Alain Michel 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), making the score 3-2 in favor of Duke.
The Canes needed to win both of the remaining singles matches to be victorious, but their backs were against the wall as they dropped the first set of each match. Duke’s Alex Stone defeated J.C. Whitner 7-5, 6-4 to seal the win for the Blue Devils and Dylan Arnould padded the victory with a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) win over Miami’s Carl Sundberg in day’s final match.
“We were just very lucky to get through the doubles point and I think that gave us a little impetus in singles,” said Duke coach Jay Lapidus. “It was a good effort by the guys. They did a good job.”
“Duke was better today,” Rincon said softly, visibly disappointed with his team’s performance.
Things do not get any easier for the Canes as they welcome No. 13 North Carolina to Coral Gables for a noon match on Sunday.
“Our schedule only gets tougher,” said Rincon. “We happen to play in the best tennis conference in the country so that’s the way it is. That’s the way it’s been for the last few years.
“We have no choice but to rebound and start winning again.”
Andrew Donovan may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 66 Duke 5, No. 20 Miami 2
1. #4 Daniel Vallverdu (UM) def. Kiril Dimitrov (Duke) 6-2, 6-2
2. #51 David Goulet (Duke) def. Vivek Subramanian (UM) 6-3, 6-4
3. #57 Reid Carleton (Duke) def. Keith Crowley (UM) 6-4, 6-2
4. Dylan Arnould (Duke) def. Carl Sundberg (UM) 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
5. Alex Stone (Duke) def. J.C. Whitner (UM) 7-5, 6-4
6. Barnabas Carrega (UM) def. Alain Michel (Duke) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3, 6, 5*, 4
1. David Goulet/Christopher Price (Duke) def. #24 Daniel Vallverdu/Carl Sundberg (UM) 9-8
2. #54 Vivek Subramanian/David Rosenfeld (UM) def. Karl Dimitrov/Reid Carleton (Duke) 7-6
3. Dylan Arnould/Alex Stone (Duke) def. Hector Nieto/Keith Crowley (UM) 9-7
Order of Finish: 1, 3*, 2
David Rosenfeld’s status for Sunday is undecided. Rincon said, “I’m sure he will be back next weekend, but I’m not sure about Sunday.” Rosenfeld described the injury as a knee hyperextension.