Dougaz, Poullain Earn Career Wins at Loss at No. 1 Wake
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The No. 33 Florida State Seminoles (14-9, 4-5 ACC) showed a lot of fight in a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the No. 1/1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (20-2, 7-1 ACC) on Friday night at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
No. 63 sophomore Aziz Dougaz earned a three set victory 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 over the No. 2 player in the nation in Petros Chrysochos, while redshirt junior Lucas Poullain defeated Skander Mansouri, who is currently ranked No. 14 but has been as high as No. 4 this season, in straight sets before the match was clinched.
“It was a great win for Lucas- his best win in college and he’s won more matches than anyone else and he’s having a great year for us,” Florida State head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “Aziz had a great gameplan, I thought our coaches did a great job. He battled hard and got the win.”
Florida State’s No. 87-ranked doubles pair, redshirt juniors Poullain and Jose Gracia, came out strong and topped Borna Gojo/Alan Gadjiev of Wake Forest 6-2 in doubles play, but the Deacons would not concede the point, taking a 1-0 lead.
In singles play, many of the first sets were very tight throughout, and only Poullain was able to come away on top after the first, winning the set 6-3 over Mansouri. Poullain would take full advantage of the lead, winning handily 6-3, 6-2 on court three for the best win of his Seminole career and to even the match at 1-1.
On court one, it was a rematch of a Davis Cup showdown between Dougaz and Chrysochos, currently ranked the No. 2 player in the nation by the ITA. Despite losing the matchup in Davis Cup and falling behind 4-6 in the first set on Friday, Dougaz was unfazed and defeated one of the top players in the nation 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
After falling behind in the first set, No. 73 junior Guy Iradukunda took the second set 6-4 over No. 53 Borna Gojo on court two. Iradukunda had a 5-3 lead in the third set, but Gojo was able to force a tiebreak and win 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(5) in a match that could not have been closer.
At the bottom of the lineup, two young players in freshmen Rana-Roop Singh Bhullar and Alex Knaff made the start at five and six, respectively. The two played well, especially late, but were unable to come up with victories as Wake Forest moved the score to 3-1.
Gracia also played a tough match, losing both sets 7-5, 7-5 on court four as the Demon Deacons clinched the match at 4-1.
“Wake Forest kind of dominated first sets, but Aziz, Guy and Lucas all won second sets,” Hultquist said. “We were in position, a point or two away from winning three of those second sets (on courts four through six) Alex had four set points, Jose was right in it there to break, Rana was two points from a second set.
“The effort was good- it still stings to lose, but the effort was good.”
Following the battle in Winston-Salem, the Noles will make the short drive to Raleigh, N.C. to take on the No. 66 NC State Wolfpack on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.. Florida State leads the all-time series 24-3 over NC State, and have not lost to the Pack since the 2013 season.
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