The Elon University men’s tennis team upset No. 7 Duke at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center on Friday night, Jan. 17, winning 4-3. Junior Brian Kowalski’s victory at No. 4 singles capped off a thrilling comeback to down the Blue Devils in their first dual action of the season.
The Phoenix got off to a hot start by capturing the doubles point. Senior Cameron Silverman and junior Stefan Fortmann fell at No. 1 doubles to junior Jason Tahir and senior Fred Saba, 6-5.
But, both Elon pairings at No. 2 and No. 3 singles won their matches allowing the Phoenix to take the early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Robert Lindgren and Kowalski defeated junior Raphael Hemmeler and sophomore Bruno Semenzato 6-4 at No. 2 doubles, while Elon juniors Juan Madrid and Jordan Kaufman clinched the point by edging out sophomore Daniel McCall and junior Cale Hammond, 6-5.
The Blue Devils stormed back in the single portion of the match, winning the first three matches of the session. Saba made quick work of Fortmann at No. 2 singles, defeating the South Africa native in straight sets 6-2, 6-1.
Josh Levine also won in straight sets, defeating Madrid at No. 5 singles. The No. 77 player in the nation defended his ranking winning 6-3, 6-2.
Semezato needed to work a bit harder to get by Lindgren at No. 3 singles, but the No. 95 ranked player in the country prevailed in three sets 6-0, 6-3, 6-0.
Kaufman was the first Elon player to win his singles match, getting past Hammond in three sets at No. 6 singles. Kaufman won 5-6, 6-0, 6-3. It was his win that sparked a 4-0 run to end the match.
Silverman knotted them match at three with his victory at No. 1 singles. In a matchup of two ranked players, No. 25 Silverman defeated No. 52 Tahir 6-5, 3-6, 6-1.
Kowalski clinched the victory for the Phoenix with his win at No. 4 singles. Kowalski and Hemmeler split the first two sets, and were all square at 5 games apiece in the final set. Kowalski managed to win the final game of the match and set and walked out a 6-3, 2-6, 6-5 winner.
The Phoenix will resume play on Friday Jan. 24 when they travel to Charlottesville, Va., to take on the University of Virginia in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off weekend.