DURHAM, N.C. – The 29th ranked Florida State men’s tennis team (17-9, 6-6) won their final regular season match 4-3 over No. 49 Duke (10-13, 4-8). Bhullar in his second match back from injury came in clutch clinching the match
“Nothing in this conference ever comes easy,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “Being able to beat Duke at their place on senior day with a lot on the line showed what we are capable of. We got great performances on courts one through three and then Rana came up big for us at the end.”
For the second match in a row, the Seminole lost the doubles point. All three courts started out tied at one. The momentum then turned to the Blue Devils as they took a 3-2 lead on all three courts. Duke clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 win on court two and a 6-3 win on court three.
Singles got started as the Noles took four of six first sets, that was all they needed. Redshirt senior Lucas Poullain continued his winning ways as he earned his 14th win of the spring and fifth win over a ranked opponent. He dominated No. 99 Nick Stachowiak 6-1, 6-1.
Florida State and Duke then swapped points as the Noles took court two with a 6-3, 6-1 win by junior Alex Knaff. The Blue Devils earned a 6-0, 6-3 win on court six.
After heading indoors due to rain, freshman Juan Martin Jalif gave the Garnet and Gold their first lead of the day with a big win on court three. He took the first set 6-3 and dominated the second set 6-2 just his third win of the spring. Duke once again tied the match with a 6-2, 6-3 win of their own on court four.
The match would come down to junior Rana-Roop Singh Bhullar who had missed the team’s last 10 matches before Friday. In the first set, he fell behind 4-2 before storming back to take five of the final six games and the first set 7-5. Bhullar would go on to lose the second set 6-1. The third set was back and forth and with Bhullar down 5-4 he would go on to win the final three games and clinch the match 7-5.
“Rana battled and came up clutch for us,” said Hultquist. “In his second match back from injury he battled. He fought down 5-4 and hit three straight winners to tie the match at five. It was great to see him win the final six points to clinch the match for us.”
Florida State will begin play in the ACC Tournament next Thursday against Duke at 11:30 am in Cary, N.C. The winner of that match will take on second seeded Virginia on Friday at 11:30 am.
To keep up with the Seminoles, 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).
#29 Florida State University 4, #49 Duke 3Singles competition
Florida State University 17-9, 6-6; National ranking #29
Duke 10-13, 4-8; National ranking #49
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,2,6,3,4,5)