April 19, 2015
THE FLATS – Carlos Benito outlasted 59th-ranked Raphael Hemmeler for the deciding point in singles, and teamed with Eduardo Segura for the clinching point in doubles as well as Georgia Tech stunned 8th-ranked Duke, 4-3, Sunday afternoon at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
Playing before a raucous capacity home crowd, Tech finished its regular season at 12-11, 4-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, settling into the 10th seed for this week’s ACC Championship in Cary, N.C. The Yellow Jackets will face No. 7 seed Notre Dame (14-7, 6-6 ACC) at 9 a.m. Thursday. Duke (21-5, 8-4 ACC), the highest-ranked opponent Tech has beaten since Kenny Thorne took over as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach in 1998, have the No. 5 seed and will play No. 12 Miami at noon Thursday.
“This was an incredible match. Just a great college tennis match,” said Thorne. “We’ve been in this position in several matches this year, we did the right things and we didn’t get them. But these guys are young, and they have kept coming. This match shows what they’re made of.”
Equally as important for Tech Sunday was the performance of Segura, playing his final home match for the Yellow Jackets. He and Benito clinched the doubles point for Tech, then he set the tone in singles with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Daniel McCall on court 6, giving the Jackets a 2-0 lead.
“The guys really rallied around Eddie today, and that was really inspiring,” said Thorne. “To have it come down to your senior winning his doubles match and getting us off to a good start in singles, you couldn’t have written it up any better.”
Tech gained the early advantage in doubles when Benito and Segura outlasted Josh Levine and Jason Tahir, 8-7, winning the tiebreaker 7-2 on court 1. Eubanks and Michael Kay toppled T.J. Pura and Bruno Semenzato, 8-5 on court 2. It was Tech’s first doubles point since its 7-0 victory at Boston College on March 20, snapping an eight-match skid.
Duke eventually rallied from its 2-0 deficit to even the match twice, but never led. The Blue Devils got on the board with Levine’s 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Kay on court 4, then evened the match when Tahir, ranked 51st, defeated No. 68 Eubanks, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, on court 1.
Meanwhile, Benito had battled to take his first set against Hemmeler in a tiebreaker, fighting off four set points to win it 13-11, but the Duke senior evened the match with a 6-3 second-set win. In the third set, Benito survived five break points to lead 3-2 and keep the set on serve, then gained the advantage with a service break in the next game. The Tech sophomore staved off two more break points to hold service for a 5-2 lead. After Hemmeler held serve at love to make it 5-3, Benito won his serve to take the match and lift Tech to victory.
“Carlos saved four set points in the tiebreaker, which was huge, because his opponent relaxed in the second set and played well,” said Thorne. “They kept coming after each other, and neither of them gave in. Carlos needed to play aggressively and get after it, and he did.”
Georgia Tech 4, #8 Duke 3
Apr 19, 2015 at Atlanta, Ga. (Ken Byers Tennis Complex)
1. #51 Jason Tahir (DU) def. #62 Christopher Eubanks (GT) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
2. Carlos Benito (GT) def. #59 Raphael Hemmeler (DU) 7-6 (13-11), 3-6, 6-3
3. Bruno Semenzato (DU) def. Nathan Rakitt (GT) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
4. Josh Levine (DU) def. Michael Kay (GT) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
5. Cole Fiegel (GT) def. TJ Pura (DU) 6-3, 6-4
6. Eduardo Segura (GT) def. Daniel McCall (DU) 6-2, 6-3
1. #88 Carlos Benito/Eduardo Segura (GT) def. Josh Levine/Jason Tahir (DU) 8-7 (7-2)
2. Christopher Eubanks/Michael Kay (GT) def. TJ Pura/Bruno Semenzato (DU) 8-5
3. Raphael Hemmeler/Daniel McCall (DU) def. Casey Kay/Nathan Rakitt (GT) 8-6
Duke 21-5, 8-4 ACC; National ranking #8
Georgia Tech 12-11, 4-8 ACC
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,4,1,5,3,2)
Match played indoors