Duke (21-4, 9-2 ACC) received a bye in the first round of the tournament, while the Wolfpack (20-9, 5-6 ACC) advanced to Friday's quarterfinals with a 4-0 win over No. 11 seed Boston College on Thursday. The Blue Devils edged NC State in a 4-3 decision in Raleigh during the regular season.
The doubles matches were tightly contested on all three courts Friday, but Duke took a 1-0 lead in the match with victories on courts one and three. The 15th-ranked duo of junior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Chris Mengel used an early break to earn an 8-6 victory over NC State's Julian Sullivan and Dominic Hodgson at the top spot. The Blue Devil pair improved to 16-7 overall with the win.
Senior Torsten Wietoska and freshman Raphael Hemmeler fell behind the Wolfpack's Dave Thomson and Sean Weber early on court three, but rallied to take five straight games and fend off three match points on their way to a 9-7 victory. The win secured the doubles point for the Blue Devils while moving Wietoska and Hemmeler to 11-4 on the season.
"Especially in the tournament format, it's always nice to get that first point," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "Doubles was tight. We did a good job taking care of business at one ... Three did a great job of just hanging in there and competing."
Duke carried that momentum into singles play, posting first-set victories on all six courts. Hemmeler was the first Blue Devil to close out his match, going up early in both sets on court five to dispatch the Wolfpack's Robbie Mudge, 6-1, 6-1. Hemmeler has now won eight consecutive matches in singles play and owns an overall mark of 23-10.
Fellow rookie Jason Tahir followed suit minutes later, cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 win against Ivan Sanchez-Gomez of NC State on court six to extend Duke's lead to 3-0 in the match. Tahir joined Hemmeler in picking up the first ACC Tournament singles victory of his career while pushing his overall singles record to 23-8.
Cunha, ranked fourth in the nation in singles, clinched the 4-0 victory for the Blue Devils with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Pulgar from the No. 1 position. Cunha improved to 34-7 overall and posted his 20th victory of the season from the top spot.
The remaining three singles matches on courts two, three and four were abandoned with Duke leading on all three courts.
"NC State's a good team. They competed hard," Smith said. "Once we loosened up, in singles, I thought we played excellent at all six spots. I'm really happy we were able to get off the court pretty quickly and we'll be ready to go for tomorrow."
The Blue Devils now advance to Saturday's second semifinal match, where they will meet second-seeded and 18th-ranked North Carolina at 1 p.m. In the teams' regular season meeting in Durham last week, the Tar Heels edged Duke, 4-3, in a close contest that lasted nearly five hours. Duke and North Carolina also faced off in the semifinals of the 2011 ACC Men's Tennis Championship, with the Blue Devils claiming a 4-0 victory to earn a spot in the championship match.
Top-seeded Virginia and fifth-seeded Florida State will square off in the first semifinal match at 10 a.m. Saturday in Cary.
#8 Duke 4, #38 NC State 0
ACC Men's Tennis Championship
Apr 20, 2012 at Cary, N.C.
Cary Tennis Park
1. #15 Henrique Cunha/Chris Mengel (DU) def. Julian Sullivan/Dominic Hodgson (NCSU) 8-6
2. Fred Saba/David Holland (DU) vs. Jaime Pulgar/Robbie Mudge (NCSU) 6-8, unfinished
3. Torsten Wietoska/Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Dave Thomson/Sean Weber (NCSU) 9-7
1. #4 Henrique Cunha (DU) def. #35 Jaime Pulgar (NCSU) 6-2, 6-2
2. #36 Chris Mengel (DU) vs. Dominic Hodgson (NCSU) 6-3, 3-1, unfinished
3. #115 Torsten Wietoska (DU) vs. Julian Sullivan (NCSU) 6-2, 3-1, unfinished
4. Fred Saba (DU) vs. Austin Powell (NCSU) 6-2, 3-4, unfinished
5. Raphael Hemmeler (DU) def. Robbie Mudge (NCSU) 6-1, 6-1
6. Jason Tahir (DU) def. Ivan Sanchez Gomez (NCSU) 6-1, 6-0
NC State 20-9, 5-6 ACC; National ranking #38
Duke 21-4, 9-2 ACC; National ranking #8
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (5,6,1)