April 18, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 27 ranked Florida State men's tennis team fell to Duke on Senior Day in the final regular season match of the season. It was a competitive match until the very end but the Seminoles lost 5-2 and dropped to 13-8, 6-5 on the year.
"I thought we played well. It was a good, hard match. There was a lot of good tennis to be played. Duke is a very good team and they're deserving of being the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament," head coach Dwayne Hultquist said.
The Seminoles came out firing on all cylinders as they took it to the Blue Devils in doubles. A quick 8-5 victory by Anderson Reed (Daphne, Ala.) and Jordan Kelly-Houston (Christchurch, New Zealand) gave Florida State an early advantage.
That momentum boosted the Seminoles on courts one and two. No. 57 Vahid Mirzadeh (Wellington, Fla.) and Connor Smith (Tampa, Fla.) took the No. 1 doubles team in the nation down to the wire, losing to Duke's Henrique Cunha and Reid Carleton in a tiebreaker that went 24 total points. Smith and Mirzadeh had three match points before falling to the top-ranked Blue Devils squad.
"It came down to the wire. It was really fun playing in that atmosphere, my last home match. It was back and forth, a seesaw battle. Unfortunately we didn't come through with it," Mirzadeh said. "It definitely helps our mindset knowing that we can play with the top teams. (Our doubles match) will help us in the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament," he added.
The Seminoles were able to rebound and win the doubles point with a stunning victory on court two. No. 42 ranked Jean-Yves Aubone (Miami, Fla.) and Clint Bowles (Tampa, Fla.) had their backs to the wall trailing 7-4 and returning serve from Duke's Dylan Arnould and David Holland. But the Florida State tandem rallied, breaking serve three straight times en route to winning five consecutive games and the doubles match 9-7.
"We played great doubles. We played great at (court) one. We were just a point away from winning that one but we battled hard. It was a great comeback in (court) two doubles to win that match being down 7-4," Hultquist said.
In singles, four of the six matches went to third sets and a fifth was decided by tiebreakers in each of two sets. Mirzadeh came from behind with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 86 Reid Carleton that gave FSU its second team point and a 2-1 dual-match lead.
"I started off a little slow but luckily I found some rhythm in that second set and was fortunate enough to pull it back for us," Mirzadeh explained.
Kelly-Houston also battled back after losing the first set by taking Jared Pinsky to three sets. He fell in a third-set tiebreaker that decided the match, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (3).
Freshman Andres Bucaro (Guatemala City, Guatemala) found himself down a set and facing six match points after trailing 6-0 in a second set tiebreaker but rallied six consecutive points to keep the match going. He eventually lost the tiebreak and fell 7-6 (6), 7-6 (8).
The Seminoles won first sets on courts three and six but comebacks by Duke on both courts were crucial in the Blue Devils taking the team match.
Bowles trailed in the third set 4-1 before rallying with two service breaks and knotting the set up at 4-4. However, the junior could not hang on as he fell 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 and snapped his seven-match singles winning streak.
Florida State recognized the careers of three seniors - Aubone, Mirzadeh and Keith Embree (Naples, Fla.) between the singles and doubles matches. Aubone, the 2009 ACC Player Of The Year, will finish his career in the Top 10 in overall career wins, career doubles victories and career singles wins. Mirzadeh is now 23-9 in singles this season and ranked No. 48 nationally. Embree advanced to the quarterfinals of the Seminole Invitational last fall before bowing out to the No. 5 ranked player in the nation.
"They have had great careers. (Aubone and Mirzadeh) are two of the better players I've had in the history of the program. They've done great so it's tough to see them go but hopefully we can do something at the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament to send them out on a good note," Hultquist said.
The Seminoles will travel to Cary, N.C. this week as play begins in the 2010 ACC Men's Tennis Championships. Check Seminoles.com for updated information and coverage of the tournament including opponents, game-times and much more.