April 6, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Playing in their final home match of the year, the No. 30 Florida State men's tennis team (15-9, 3-5) dropped to No. 13-ranked Duke (14-5, 6-1) on Sunday 5-2 at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center.
"We lost to a really good Duke team today," said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. "Much like Friday we had some really good efforts. It hurt us a little bit not having Michael (Rinaldi) healthy. I was proud of Grayson (Goldin) getting off the courts fast with his win and also Dominic (Cotrone) coming back to get an upset on one. We need to get a little bit healthier and pick up the doubles which is something that cost us this weekend."
The Blue Devils gained a 1-0 lead after a long doubles point played between the two schools. Although the score was 8-0 in Duke's favor, Florida State's No. 41 tandem of Blake Davis and Dominic Cotrone played many deuce points but dropped to Fred Saba and Raphael Hemmeler on court one.
At the same time, both courts two and three were battling a tiebreaker to decide the doubles point. Duke's Josh Levine and Jason Tahir topped Marco Nunez and Cristian Gonzalez Mendez 8-7 (2) to clinch but Michael Rinaldi and Grayson Goldin held on for the win as the duo won 8-7 (7) over Bruno Semenzato and Daniel McCall.
Just like the team's last match against North Carolina, the two teams split the first sets of singles and had three matches going for three sets. No stranger to long grueling matches, the Seminoles fought hard to try and gain the upset.
TJ Pura gave Duke a 2-0 lead after defeating sophomore João Gauer 6-1, 6-2 on court six but Goldin, a freshman, got the Seminoles on the board with a strong 6-1, 6-3 victory over Levin on court five.
After losing his first set quickly, No. 65 Gonzalez Mendez began to battle back in his second set against No. 54 Saba to give his teammates motivation to play hard in their matches. Saba ended up winning the match 6-0, 6-4 and giving Duke the 3-1 lead.
Needing to win the remainder of the matches for the team win, the three remaining matches ended up all needing a third set to decide the outcome.
After winning his first set, Nunez began to falter as No. 71 Semenzato won the second set losing only one game. The two guys were battling it out on court with the games going back-and-fourth until Semenzato got the break to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and to clinch the match for the Blue Devils.
After playing a first set that lasted nearly 90 minutes, Davis began to cramp up in his third set tiebreaker as Hemmeler gained the 6-7 (6), 6-2, 1-0 (10-4) win on court three.
The most entertaining match of the day was on court one between No. 101 Cotrone and No. 48 Tahir. With Tahir winning the first set, Cotrone gained a 5-0 lead in the second set until Tahir came back and forced a tiebreaker. Supported by his teammates and fans, Cotrone won the tiebreaker and forced a full third set between the two. Once again, the two players dueled it out back-and-forth until Cotrone got the late break to gain the upset and win 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Florida State travels to Boston College and Notre Dame this weekend. Check back to Seminoles.com for all your information on the men's tennis team and follow the team at twitter.com/fsu_mtennis.