CARY, N.C. – The No. 31 Florida State men’s tennis team (18-9) advanced to the ACC Tournament quarterfinals with a 4-2 win over Duke. The Noles will take on third-seeded Virginia tomorrow at 12:00 pm.
“I think it sometimes really hard to play a team close together and now we have had to do it two years in a row, beating Duke the last weekend of the season and then having to play them in the first round of the tournament,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “Today some of the matches switched and some were a lot more difficult this time. The matches we won again at one, two and three were all harder than they were last week.”
Just like four days ago the Seminoles lost the doubles point to the Blue Devils. Junior Alex Knaff and sophomore Sebastian Arcila got off to a hot start taking court one 6-3. Duke was first able to take court two 6-2. The doubles point came down to sophomore Chase Wood and freshman Juan Martin Jalif. The two were back and forth with Dukes No. 3 pair until it went into a tiebreaker. Duke came away with doubles point after a 9-7 win in the tiebreaker.
“I am really pleased with the effort we got after losing the doubles point,” said Hultquist. “We were down most of the day but just kept battling back. At the end, we gained the momentum.”
Singles was a battle as three of the courts went three sets. The Noles went down 2-0 early after Duke’s Sean Sculley won 6-3, 6-0 over junior Rana-Roop Singh Bhullar. Redshirt senior Lucas Poullain remained consistent as he has all season long, getting the Noles on the board with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 100 Nick Stachowiak.
That was the first of four straight Seminole wins. Knaff was next, taking down Spencer Furman for the second time in a week on court two. FSU was in a battle on the final three courts. Jalif lost the first and took the second set to force a third set, Enzo Le Seguillon took the first set but lost the second and was going to a third set and Richard Thongoana lost the first before taking the second set to force a third.
Thongoana ended up capturing the third Seminole point. He was down 2-1 early in the third set before winning five of the last six games to take the point. Just minutes later Jalif clinched the match with a 6-4 third set win on court three.
“Richard, who is recovering from an illness stepped up today and won in three sets and then Juni clinched it,” said Hultquist. “I am really pleased with how Juni bounced back after losing the first set. He played really good tennis to close it out. If you look at this year’s team they are showing the ability to win these close matches heading into the postseason.”
The Noles will take on third-seeded Virginia tomorrow at 12:00 pm in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. The match will be played at the Cary Tennis Park Indoor Courts.
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).
Florida State 4, Duke 2
Order of finish: Singles — 5 1 2 6 3; Doubles — 2 1 3
Start Time: 11:30 a.m.