March 17, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 31 Florida State men's tennis team (13-3, 4-0) were looking to extend their ACC win streak and were able to pull it off after freshman Dominic Cotrone clinched today's doubles and singles matches. The Seminoles topped No. 71 Clemson (5-9, 2-1) 4-3 in a four and a half hour long battle at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. The Seminoles have won ten straight home matches this season for the first time since 2008.
"It was a really hard fought match," said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. "Clemson played very hard. We played for four and a half hours in 87 degree heat. It was a great win for us. I was really proud of Dom (Cotrone). I feel like we gave him the game ball with what he did to clinch the doubles point and clinch the singles. He hasn't played as much as some of the other guys but he really stepped it up and came through big for us today."
In doubles play, the two teams battled back in forth with junior Jordan Kelly-Houston and sophomore Blake Davis winning the first match. In the two spot, the duo topped Clemson's pair of Ayrton Wibowo and Cedric Willems 8-4.
Clinching the doubles point was the pair of Cotrone and junior Anderson Reed. Playing in the one spot for only the third time this season, the twosome won their first ranked win of the year. No. 53 Yannick Maden and Zachary Rigsby made the win difficult by going to a tiebreaker. Florida State prevailed and got the 9-8 (6) win.
"Anderson and I knew it was going to be a battle on court one," said Cotrone. "We played good tennis and trusted each other. It was really close all the way to the end in both singles and doubles. I didn't realize the doubles point was depending on us until we lost on court three. That's when Anderson and I knew the team needed us big time."
Moving onto singles, Florida State took a quick lead winning five of the first sets. Freshman Cristian Gonzalez Mendez snapped his two match losing streak by quickly winning 6-3, 6-1 over Wibowo on court four. Off next for the Seminoles was junior Andres Bucaro who continued his undefeated season with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Dominique Maden on court three. Bucaro is now 13-0 this spring.
Cotrone started his match on court six down 4-1 in the first set, but fought his way back to a tiebreaker. Having played only three singles matches this season, he didn't let his inexperience get in the way as he won the tiebreaker and went on to clinch the match with his 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over Cedric Willems.
"Going into singles I struggled in the beginning as I went down 4-1 and down a break," continued Cotrone. "But I knew I could fight back. I started trusting my shots and attacking a lot more and it paid off. Coach Dwayne really helped me find the weaknesses in my opponent and that's when I rallied back to clinch. It is a great experience and confidence booster."
After Cotrone's win Florida State failed to put another point on the board. Kelly-Houston dropped 7-5, 7-6 (8) to No. 49 Yannick Maden. Davis and freshman Cristian Gonzalez Mendez both fell in third sets.
Florida State faces No. 31 Oklahoma on Tuesday at 4 p.m. and will stay at home for bouts against Wake Forest and NC State next weekend. For the latest information, check back to Seminoles.com. Follow the team on twitter at twitter.com/fsu_mtennis.