May 16, 2004
Durham, NC – In a battle that lasted four hours and 29 minutes,33rd-ranked Clemson rallied from a 3-1 deficit to upset fifth-seeded and sixth-ranked Duke, 4-3, in the second round of the 2004 NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, N.C.
The Tigers improve to 24-11 on the year and advance to the Round of 16 where they will meet Texas Christian, a 4-2 upset winner over 12th-seeded Kentucky, on Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. This is the 12th time in school history that Clemson has advanced to the final 16.
Duke claimed the doubles point with wins at the numbers two and three positions, but Clemson struck first in singles action as Ryan Young defeated Christopher Brown, 6-0, 6-2, at the number six flight.
Ludovic Walter, ranked 28th nationally in singles, then put the Blue Devils back on top with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Goran Sterijovski at number two, and Jason Zimmermann extended the lead to 3-1 with a straight set win over Jarmaine Jenkins at number four. Clemson then began its comeback with Damiisa Robinson’s 6-4, 7-6 triumph over Jonathan Stokke at number five. The match then found itself knotted at 3-3 when Duke’s Peter Rodrigues, leading by a 5-4 count in the third set, was forced to retire due to leg cramps at number four singles.
The decisive point then rested at the top singles position, where NathanThompson overcame a one-set deficit to outlast fifth-ranked Phillip King, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5, and give the Tigers their first NCAA Tournament win over Duke in five tries.
“I could not be more proud of this team, said Clemson head coach Chuck Kriese. “This was one of the best tennis matches I have seen in my career at Clemson (dates to 1975). It was almost a five-hour match and we showed great heart, Really both teams did. I have to give credit to Duke, they hung in during a 90 degree day.
“We lost the doubles point and it seemed like we were behind the entire day. We were down 3-1 with three singles matches still out on the court. It came down to the number-one singles match and Nathan Thompson beat the number-five player in the nation (Phillip King). He was down 4-2 in the third set, battled back to tie it at 5-5, then broke King in the 12th game at 40-15 to win the third set and send us to Tulsa.”
#33 Clemson 4, #6 Duke 3
1. #96 Nathan Thompson (Clemson) def. #5 Phillip King, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5
2. #28 Ludovic Walter (Duke) def. Goran Sterijovski, 6-2, 6-4
3. Jason Zimmermann (Duke) def. Jarmaine Jenkins, 6-2. 6-2
4. John Boetsch (Clemson) def. Peter Rodrigues, 4-6, 7-5, 4-5, ret.
5. Damiisa Robinson’s (Clemson) def. Jonathan Stokke, 6-4, 7-6 (5)
6. Ryan Young (Clemson) def. Christopher Brown, 6-0, 6-2
Order of finish: 6, 3, 2, 5, 4, 1
DOUBLES 1. #50 Phillip King & Jonathan Stokke (Duke) vs. #37 Jarmain Jenkins & Nathan Thompson, DNF
2. Stephen Amritraj & Jason Zimmermann (Duke) def. John Boetsch & Damiisa Robinson, 8-4
3. Peter Rodrigues & Ludovic Walter (Duke) def. Brad Twente & Ryan Young, 8-5 Order of finish: 2, 3
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