The Blue Devils took the doubles point for the third consecutive match and won singles matches on five of the six courts for the team's second ACC road victory in as many outings.
Duke (13-2) continued its streak of solid doubles play, capturing the point with wins on courts one and three. Freshman Raphael Hemmeler and sophomore Cale Hammond teamed up for their third consecutive win from the No. 3 position, defeating Wake Forest's Conner Sherwood and Sam Wells, 8-2. The 62nd-ranked duo of junior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Chris Mengel followed with an 8-5 victory against Amogh Prabhakar and David Hopkins in the No. 1 contest to secure the doubles point for Duke. Cunha and Mengel improved to 9-4 overall and 2-0 in dual match play with the win.
"It was another really good day in doubles," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "We got off to a really strong start at No. 3 that just set the tone ... We did a great job with the doubles point and it gave us a lot of momentum again going into singles."
The Blue Devils also got off to strong starts in singles play before rain forced the match indoors. However, Hammond picked up right where he left off after play resumed, rolling to a 6-1, 6-1 victory against the Demon Deacons' Alex Tsai in the No. 6 spot for his second dual match win of the spring. Freshman Jason Tahir was equally as impressive in the No. 5 singles contest, dispatching Sherwood, 6-2, 6-2, to give the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead in the match. Tahir moved to 16-5 overall and 4-1 in the No. 5 slot in the lineup while earning his 10th consecutive singles victory.
"We're really impressed with Cale," Smith said. "When we called his name, he was ready to go, and to be the first one off the court is really impressive. It just shows how much work he's put into his game. It was more of the same from Tahir. He's been getting up on his opponents early and he's just been a rock for us."
Eighteenth-ranked Mengel clinched the match for Duke shortly after, recording a 6-2, 6-0 win against Hopkins on court two for his 10th victory of the spring from the No. 2 position. Meanwhile, third-ranked Cunha defeated Kreyman, 6-3, 6-4, in the No. 1 matchup to improve to 26-5 overall and 12-1 from the top spot in the lineup.
With the Blue Devils leading by a 5-0 margin, the remaining singles matches featured a pair of three-set battles. On court three, Hemmeler and Wake Forest's Prabhakar traded sets before Prabhakar grinded out a 6-3 win in the decisive set to earn a point for the Demon Deacons. Saba closed out the day for Duke with a three-set victory in the No. 4 spot. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native suffered a 6-4 setback to Lee in the first set but responded by taking the next two to propel the Blue Devils to a 6-1 victory.
Duke improves to 13-2 overall and 2-0 in ACC action with the win, while Wake Forest fell to 9-8 and 0-2 in league play. The squad returns to Ambler Tennis Stadium next weekend for a pair of key conference matchups against No. 5 Virginia and No. 56 Virginia Tech.
"We had a goal to get that first weekend under our belts," Smith said. "Next weekend is a big one for us, and we're just looking to get healthy and get ready for a good Virginia team."
Duke vs Wake Forest
Mar 18, 2012 at Winston-Salem, N.C.
(Wake Forest Tennis Complex)
#6 Duke 6, #74 Wake Forest 1
1. #62 Henrique Cunha/Chris Mengel (DU) def. David Hopkins/Amogh Prabhakar (WFU) 8-5
2. Danny Kreyman/Adam Lee (WFU) def. David Holland/Fred Saba (DU) 8-7 (8-6)
3. Cale Hammond/Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Conner Sherwood/Sam Wells (WFU) 8-2
1. #3 Henrique Cunha (DU) def. Danny Kreyman (WFU) 6-3, 6-4
2. #18 Chris Mengel (DU) def. David Hopkins (WFU) 6-2, 6-0
3. Amogh Prabhakar (WFU) def. Raphael Hemmeler (DU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
4. Fred Saba (DU) def. Adam Lee (WFU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
5. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Conner Sherwood (WFU) 6-2, 6-2
6. Cale Hammond (DU) def. Alex Tsai (WFU) 6-1, 6-1
Duke 13-2 (2-0 ACC); National ranking #6
Wake Forest 9-8 (0-2 ACC); National ranking #74
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,5,2,1,3,4)