Chapel Hill, N.C. – Playing indoors due to rain in the area all day Friday, the three-seed Seminoles fell 4-3 to six-seed Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals. The match was a reversal from when the two teams met last month, a 4-3 FSU win. In doubles, Florida State (18-8) tallied wins on Courts 2 and 3 to enter singles play with a 1-0 advantage.
First to finish was Aziz Dougaz and Michael Rinaldi on Court 2, 6-3 winners over Amerigo Contini and Edoardo Tessaro. Just seconds later, Jose Gracia and Terrance Whitehurst improved to 9-1 against ACC opponents with a 6-3 win on Court 3 over Jai Corbett and Mitch Harper.
FSU’s No. 16 Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez led No. 15 Andreas Bjerrehus and Joao Monteiro, 5-3, when the match was clinched.
Needing three singles wins to advance to a semifinal match against Wake Forest, the Seminoles started strong on Court 6 with Whitehurst’s 6-0, 6-2 win over Aaron Gomez. That was the only first set the Seminoles won, however, and soon trailed 3-2 after Virginia Tech scored straight-set victories on Courts 4, 1, and 2, the latter two coming in tiebreakers.
On Court 5, Gracia dropped the first set before forcing a second against Harper. Gracia used an early break to gain momentum and a late break to seal the victory, tying the match 3-3 with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win.
With the match knotted up, Rinaldi led 4-2 in a third set against No. 107 Contini. Contini broke to make the match 4-3, and both players remained on serve until the tiebreaker. Rinaldi had two match points at 6-5, 30-40, but Contini connected on both to extend the match.
In the tiebreaker, Contini ran out to a 4-0 lead before winning the match 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2).
Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist:
“It was a great college match. It was competitive. Virginia Tech is an outstanding team and one of the most underranked teams in the country based on what their ability is. We had a great win over them earlier in the season at their place, and this is a great win for them to beat us. The difference came down to the flipping of the matches (5 of 7 spots changed results from the regular season match). We won the doubles point this time, and they won it last time. They were good at closing matches out in the decisive sets. That’s exactly what we did up there.
I’m extremely proud of Jose. He was down to match point and came back and won. I was very pleased with Terrance, one of his best matches of the year in convincing fashion.
I’m sure Michael feels bad about not winning his match, but that’s only one of four points that occurred. He did a great job of coming back from a first set loss. We lost the match in the first set – they won five of six.”
On what he said to the team after the match:
“I told them the key was the flipping of the matches and that we didn’t play good enough in the first sets. They did a good job of not giving up and digging in and fighting. Certainly, it’s advantageous for Virginia Tech to play indoors, but we did a good job in a hard-fought indoor match.”
On how the team will prepare over the next three weeks for the NCAA Tournament:
“The first thing is we have to get through finals. We’re fortunate to have a couple guys, Ben and Marco, playing in the Tallahassee Challenger next week. We’ll take some days off to regroup and get our bodies healthier and train hard. There’s some things we can correct and improve on, but this is not a bad loss.”
– The match was played indoors at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center at UNC due to weather.
– Gracia ends the season with a 10-3 mark against ACC opponents.
The Seminoles will be selected for their 14th-consecutive NCAA Tournament when the brackets are revealed on May 3. Times, opponents, and location will be decided at that time.
For more information on Florida State tennis, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSU_MTennis), Facebook (/FSUMTennis), and Instagram (@FSU_Mtennis).
#36 Virginia Tech def. #21 Florida State, 4-3
April 22, 2016 – Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center, Chapel Hill, N.C.
#22 Joao Monteiro (VT) def. #9 Benjamin Lock (FSU), 6-3, 7-6 (4)
#66 Andreas Bjerrehus (VT) def. #69 Marco Nunez (FSU), 7-5, 7-6 (4)
#107 Amerigo Contini (VT) def. Michael Rinaldi (FSU), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2)
Edoardo Tessaro (VT) def. Aziz Dougaz (FSU), 7-5, 6-1
Jose Gracia (FSU) def. Mitch Harper (VT), 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
Terrance Whitehurst (FSU) def. Aaron Gomez (VT), 6-0, 6-2
#16 Lock/Nunez (FSU) vs. #15 Bjerrehus/Monteiro (VT), 5-3, dnf.
Dougaz/Rinaldi (FSU) def. Contini/Tessaro (VT), 6-3
Gracia/Whitehurst (FSU) def. Jai Corbett/Harper (VT), 6-3
Order of Finish – Singles: 6,4,1,2,5,3; Doubles: 2,3