Men's Tennis Falls to No. 8 Duke at NCAA's
DURHAM, N.C. --- After fighting stormy weather all day, the 23rd-ranked LSU men's tennis team's season came to a close after falling victim to the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils, 4-1, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, N.C.
Veteran player and senior Neal Skupski provided the biggest highlight of the day, picking up the lone 6-1, 6-4 victory for the Tigers over Duke's 38th-ranked Chris Mengel.
In doubles, LSU looked to have the early momentum, jumping out to a 1-0 lead on all three courts. However, the Blue Devils would prove to be too much for the Tigers in the end, claiming the doubles point and taking a 1-0 lead.
After multiple rain delays, the match was finally moved indoors where the Tigers would have a tough time adjusting.
No. 35 Olivier Borsos would be the first to fall, dropping his match in straight sets to the No. 5 player in the nation, Henrique Cunha.
With Duke's Raphael Hemmeler and Fred Saba earning wins over their respective opponents, Stefan Szacinski and Tom Knights, the Blue Devils claimed the match, 4-1, earning a berth to the Sweet Sixteen in Athens, Ga., May 18-22.
"Duke matched up with us well in doubles," head coach Jeff Brown said. "They were just better than some of our best spots today. In singles, it was little more complicated starting outdoors and then heading indoors. Duke is a good outdoor team, but a better indoor team. Overall, they just played better than us today, but our guys never gave up which has proven to be a good characteristic of the team this year."
The Tigers will conclude their 2012 campaign with the record of 15-11.
"It was another good NCAA finish and a season the guys should be proud of," Brown said. "I am very proud of our seniors. Neal had a great career, Tom really stepped up in the absence of Mark Bowtell, and Roberts played a big role all season, especially in Florida and Georgia. We had some great wins and ultimately, it was a good season."
Although this match marks the end of the season for the Tigers as a whole, for Skupski and Borsos, their season is not yet finished.
Both have been selected, along with 62 other players in the nation, to participate in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
The singles competition will be conducted May 23-28, following the conclusion of the team championship on May 18-22. The University of Georgia will serve as host.
For up-to-date information and behind the scenes access to the Tigers, fans can follow the LSU men's team on Twitter @lsutennis and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.
LSU vs. Duke
May 13, 2012 at Durham, N.C.
(Ambler Tennis Center)
1. #16 Henrique Cunha/Chris Mengel (Duke) vs. #24 Neal Skupski/Chris Simpson (LSU) 6-5, unfinished
2. David Holland/Fred Saba (Duke) def. Olivier Borsos/Roger Anderson (LSU) 8-4
3. Raphael Hemmeler/Torsten Wietoska (Duke) def. Tom Knights/Stefan Szacinski (LSU) 8-2
Order of finish: (3, 2)
1. #5 Cunha (Duke) def. #35 Borsos (LSU) 6-1, 6-1
2. #55 Skupski (LSU) def. #38 Mengel (Duke) 6-1, 6-4
3. #100 Simpson vs. #113 Wietoska (Duke) 6-2, 4-5, unfinished
4. Saba (Duke) def. Knights (LSU) 6-3, 6-3
5. Hemmeler (Duke) def. Szacinski (LSU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Tahir (Duke) vs. Turbervill (LSU) 6-3, 5-2, unfinished
Order of finish: (1,5,2,4)