Feb. 16, 2003
DURHAM, N.C. -- The Tennessee men's tennis team dropped a hard-fought 4-3 contest against Duke, the nation's No. 8-ranked team, at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center Sunday. Due to impending inclement weather, both coaching staffs decided to play the singles portion of the contest prior to playing doubles, a reversal of the traditional collegiate format, in the hopes of completing the match.
The loss drops No. 25 Tennessee to 5-2 on the season, and marks the first time the Vols have lost consecutive dual matches since dropping contests to Harvard and Illinois in Feb. 1999.
Despite the setback, the Vol coaches voiced optimism about their squad's effort and focus.
"Coach (Michael) Fancutt and I were proud of the way the guys fought today as a team," Tennessee associate head coach Chris Mahony said. "I thought it was our best collective effort of the season. To go on the road against a top 10 team and have to play a format that was adjusted at the last minute, the team did a good job of staying calm and composed."
Vol sophomore Mark Dietrich played extremely well at the No. 2 singles slot, upsetting Michael Yani, the nation's No. 33-ranked player. Tennessee also got singles wins from Mark Henderson at the No. 5 spot and freshman Vincent Perna, who played his first career match at No. 4 singles.
"All three of those guys rebounded from singles losses versus Louisville," Mahony said. "It's a good sign that we have players who possess the character to put a loss behind them and come back and play very good tennis."
With the match tied at 3-3 at the conclusion of singles play, Duke stormed out to take an early advantage in doubles competition. The Blue Devils went up a break early in the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles contests, and went on to sweep all three matches to clinch the victory.
"We're always trying to improve throughout the season and play our best as tournament time nears," Fancutt said. "I think we made a big improvement from our last match, and played our best match of the season today."
The Vols now hold a 7-4 advantage in the all-time series versus the Blue Devils, dating back to 1975.
Tennessee will return home to host Austin Peay at UT's Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center Friday, Feb. 21.
|No. 8 Duke 4, No. 25 Tennessee 3|
|1) Phillip King (Duke) def. No. 27 Simon Rea (UT), 6-4, 6-2|
|2) No. 56 Mark Dietrich (UT) def. No. 33 Michael Yani (Duke), 6-3, 6-3|
|3) No. 77 Ludovic Walter (Duke) def. Wade Orr (UT), 6-4, 6-4|
|4) Vincent Perna (UT) def. Jonathan Stokke (Duke), 6-3, 7-5|
|5) Mark Henderson (UT) def. Stephen Amritraj (Duke), 6-4, 6-6, ret.|
|6) Peter Shults (Duke) def. Rawl Martin (UT), 6-2, 6-3|
|1) King/Yani (Duke) def. Henderson/Rea (UT), 8-4|
|2) No. 15 Stokke/Jason Zimmermann (Duke) def. Dietrich/Orr (UT), 9-7|
|3) Ryan Heinberg/Walter (Duke) def. Martin/Perna (UT), 8-3|