The Wake Forest men's tennis team once again proved that it can compete with the nation's top programs. But once again, the Demon Deacons (13-5, 3-2) fell just short of a marquee national victory.
On Friday, the No. 12 Demon Deacons performed from top to bottom to beat No. 16 Virginia Tech, 5-2. After winning the doubles point convincingly, Wake jolted to an early 2-0 lead after No. 63 Noah Rubin defeated No. 55 Amerigo Contini 6-1, 6-1 at first singles.
Junior Jon Ho, ranked No. 69, advanced in straight sets at third singles to put the Deacs within one match from their fifth Top 25 victory on the season.
While the Deacs lost third and fifth singles in three-sets, No. 12 Romain Bogaerts settled down in the final set to defeat No. 40 Andreas Bjerrehus 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The junior from Belgium used his heavy lefty forehand to dictate play and impose his will.
With the match in its balance, Maksim Kan closed out a 7-6, 7-5 win at sixth singles.
Following the win, Wake traveled to Durham to avenge a 4-1 loss to No. 6 Duke from January 23rd. Duke peaked at No. 2 in the ITA Rankings before losing those same Virginia Tech Hokies, 6-1.
The upset-minded Deacs opened the match with conviction, winning the three doubles matches by 8-3 or better. This was quickly followed up by a routine 6-1, 6-2 victory by 6-8 freshman from Germany Christian Seraphim.
But the battle-tested Blue Devils came back to take a 3-2 lead with straight sets wins at third, fifth, and sixth singles. After splitting the first two sets, Wake needed both Rubin and Bogaerts to win their decisive third sets. But No. 11 Nicolas Alvarez sealed Wake's fate with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Rubin.
Bogaerts managed to close out his match in a tiebreaker, resulting in a 4-3 decision.
Just like their 4-3 loss to Texas, Wake had a chance to defeat a Top 10 team. But like in Austin, the veteran squad found a way to squeeze out the win. While the loss serves as a missed opportunity for an elite victory, these are the matches where the youthful Deacs- starting three freshmen in singles and another in doubles- can learn and improve. Wake still have several more tests ahead in the ACC season, the deepest conference by far, to prove themselves. While Wake didn't get the 'W' is sought, the men's tennis team proved once again that they have the talent to compete with the traditional powerhouses.
The schedule opens up for the Deacs with favorable matches at NC State, Georgia Tech and Clemson in the next two weeks.