Men’s tennis splits matches in N.C.

Tech lost 4-3 to No. 30 ranked Duke on Friday afternoon, but rebounded on Sunday to shutout No. 36 ranked North Carolina 7-0 to finish up the last two home matches of the season. Tech ended the season at an even 10-10 overall and 5-6 in the ACC. The win over UNC clinched the seven seed for Tech in the ACC tournament that will be played in the upcoming week.

Tech fell behind early Friday when they lost the often crucial doubles point to Duke. Tech has been solid all season at doubles but uncharacteristically lost the first two doubles matches when sophomores Ryan Smith and Miguel Muguruza dropped their set 8-5 to Duke’s Kiril Dimitrov and Alain Michel in the No. 1 spot shortly followed by sophomore Doug Kenny and freshman Kevin King losing by the same score in the No. 2 spot.

Since Tech had already lost two out of three doubles matches, No. 16 ranked sophomore Guillermo Gomez and junior Austin Roebuck had their match against Reid Carlton and Jared Pinksy suspended to shorten the overall match time.

Duke took a 2-0 lead after starting singles play when the No. 55 ranked Dimitrov defeated Muguruza in straight sets at the No. 2 singles spot. Muguruza, who was celebrating his nineteenth birthday on the day, fought hard, but Dimitrov’s long, consistent baseline rallies prevented Muguruza from ever gaining the upper hand in the match.

Tech turned the table with the next two points when sophomore Eliot Potvin took down Duke’s Dylan Arnould at the No. 3 singles spot 6-4, 6-2, and King’s strong serve and volley game was too much for Jared Pinsky, defeating him 6-2, 6-1.

Duke never gave up the advantage, always rebounding and taking the lead whenever Tech got close.

With the score tied at two apiece for each team, Roebuck was battling from a set down to tie the score at five all in the second set. But again Duke was able to play the big points just a little bit better as Luke Marchese converted a break point and finished off the match 6-1, 7-5.

Gomez was able to tie the score for Tech at 3-3. He proved the best defense is a good offense as he continually attacked short balls with his forehand forcing the No. 38 ranked Reid Carlton into defensive positions near the back of the court. The win was the twenty-sixth of the season for Gomez.

The deciding match was being played on court five between Tech’s Smith and Alain Michel. Smith had dropped the first set 7-5 and was already down a break in the second. Smith was returning well, taking the ball low and early and forcing his way to the net. But Duke, however, rose to the occasion again. At five games each, Michel was able to convert a break point and then serve out the set on the very next game to give the Blue Devil’s the win.

Things were not as close when Tech took the court on Easter Sunday to host North Carolina. Tech clinched the doubles point early when Gomez and Smith conquered the No. 27 ranked doubles team, Clay Donato and Taylor Fogleman, in a tie break with Tech winning 9-8 (7-2).

The home team never looked back. Shortly after clinching the doubles point, Gomez defeated No. 35 ranked Clay Donato, 6-1, 6-4 to increase his match-winning streak to four.

Tech clinched the match when Muguruza, playing No. 2 singles, out dueled UNC’s Taylor Fogleman 7-5, 6-4 for the straight sets win.

With the victory, Tech clinched the No. 7 seed, as they will be heading up to Cary, N.C. to take on No. 10 seeded N.C. State early Thursday afternoon in the ACC Championships.