Feb. 7, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- With a large home crowd rooting them on from start to finish Friday, the 14th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers gave the audience a cheer-worthy performance.
The Vols (8-1) capitalized on the key points late, winning two three-set matches to defeat No. 13 Duke 4-2 on Friday night at Goodfriend Tennis Center.
"It was a great college tennis match, and a great atmosphere," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "It was awesome to see so many people come out and support these guys because they really work hard. They're great student athletes. I'm very proud of them, and when you see so many other people proud of them, it warms your heart."
Senior Jarryd Chaplin provided the clinching team point for the Vols on court 4.
With junior Hunter Reese serving deep in the third set on court 2, Chaplin made good on his first match point attempt against No. 95 Bruno Semenzato. Chaplin returned and rushed the net, forcing an error to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 and secure the Vols' victory.
"That was one of the most exciting and fun times I've had at UT in terms of the crowd," Chaplin said. "I want to thank everyone who came out tonight, because they really made that happen. They made it very easy for us to play for that win."
It was the Vols' first win against a top-25 opponent this season, a favorable start to the team's final weekend before playing the ITA National Team Indoor Championships next week.
Tennessee hosts No. 19 Wake Forest on Sunday at 1 p.m. The match will be a USTA Campus Kids Day, with free food, drinks, face painting and inflatables for kids.
Tennessee dug out a close doubles point that came down to the wire. Reese and Mikelis Libietis, the nation's top pair, won 6-3 on court 1. Chaplin and Brandon Fickey ended a two-match losing streak to earn a 6-4 win to clinch the doubles point from court 2.
In singles, Tennessee and Duke won three first sets each.
Freshman Markus Kerner was the first player off the court for the Vols a few minutes later. He won 6-3, 6-4 against No. 77 Josh Levine at the No. 6 position to improve to 8-0 this spring and giving him his first career ranked win.
From there, the Vols had three players left on court: Reese, Chaplin and junior Andrew Dromsky.
Dromsky, the lefty transfer from Georgia Southern, dug in to beat Hemmeler 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on court 5 to put the Vols up 3-2, setting the stage for Chaplin's clinching victory.
Chaplin and Reese were both up breaks early in the third set before Duke rallied back. Reese was serving at 4-5 in the third -- two points from a tiebreaker -- when Chaplin had his first opportunity to end the match.
Semenzato was serving at 4-5, up 40-15 on his service game, but Chaplin won the final three points in the match for the victory.
"It was certainly very encouraging to be in a position with two points left on the board and we just needed one," Chaplin said. "I have the utmost faith in Hunter, and that makes my playing a little easier."
Teammates rushed in to celebrate with the Aussie senior, a scene similar to one on Sunday when Fickey clinched the Vols' 4-3 victory at Tulsa.
"It's amazing what a win on the road at Tulsa does to a team's confidence," Winterbotham said. "That was a big match, it came down to a guy who handled himself fantastically well, and that carried over to today. They trusted each other."
Tennessee 4, #13 Duke
1. #29 Michael Redlicki (DUKE) def. #34 Mikelis Libietis (UT) 6-1, 6-2
2. #16 Hunter Reese (UT) vs. Fred Saba (DUKE) 3-6, 6-4, 4-5, unfinished
3. #52 Jason Tahir (DUKE) def. Brandon Fickey (UT) 6-2, 6-2
4. Jarryd Chaplin (UT) def. #95 Bruno Semenzato (DUKE) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
5. Andrew Dromsky (UT) def. Raphael Hemmeler (DUKE) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
6. Markus Kerner (UT) def. #77 Josh Levine (DUKE) 6-3, 6-4
1. #1 Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (UT) def. Michael Redlicki/Jason Tahir (DUKE) 6-3
2. #28 Brandon Fickey/Jarryd Chaplin (UT) def. Fred Saba/Bruno Semenzato (DUKE) 6-4
3. Markus Kerner/Andrew Dromsky (UT) vs. Daniel McCall/Raphael Hemmeler (DUKE) 5-4, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (1,3,6,5,4)