King and Spir Oust No. 7 Seed Duke from NCAA Doubles
May 29, 2011
Stanford, Calif. - Staring down a familiar foe in Saturday's quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship, Georgia Tech's Kevin King and Juan Spir dropped the first set in a tiebreaker, but rallied to defeat 7th-seeded Reid Carleton and Henrique Cunha of Duke, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4.
The Tech duo, which knocked off the championship's top seed Friday, advanced to the semifinals, where they will face the fourth-seeded Texas A&M team of Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek on Sunday. They defeated the fifth-seeded Baylor team of Roberto Maytin and John Peers in straight sets Saturday.
Saturday's match between the Atlantic Coast Conference rivals, delayed twice by rain showers, was as tight as it could've been. Carleton and Cunha squeezed out a 7-5 win in the tiebreaker to take the first set. The teams held serve through the first six games of the second set before the Jackets won a service break to go up 4-3, and Tech held serve to win the set and even the match, 6-4.
The third set was similar, but this time King and Spir broke through on Duke's serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Despite a double-fault from King, Tech served out the match to win the deciding set, 6-4.
"We had some chances in the first set, but were not able to convert," said King. "They were able to pull it out in a tiebreaker. But we stayed relaxed and kept playing our game. We felt the pressure was building on them, and we were able to get a break in both the second and third set to close out the match."
"We just kept fighting every point and stayed aggressive," said Spir. "We knew it was going to be a close match, so we were prepared to stay there all day if it was necessary. I'm just proud of representing Georgia Tech and ready to take on Texas A&M."
The teams had played twice earlier this year, with the Tech tandem winning in the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Collegiate Indoors in the fall, then the Duke duo pulling out a win in the teams' conference dual match in April.
"Both teams were familiar with each other and knew what to expect," said Tech coach Kenny Thorne. "We had quite a few opportunities to break in the first set but didn't convert until we went down a break. Duke had one opportunity and converted. The guys dealt with losing the first set well and settled into the match in the second. I was proud of the way we handled ourselves in adversity...losing the first set, the rain delays. Kevin and Juan are tough fighters. Now they have a rematch with a tough Texas A&M team. We had an incredibly close loss to them in the fall so we want to make things swing our way this time."
King and Spir improved their record to 35-10 this year, 11-4 against ranked teams this year. Sunday's semifinals will be a rematch of a contest the Texas A&M duo won in the fall in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Collegiate Indoors. Dadamo and Krajicek pulled out a 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 win.
Florida's Sekou Bangoura, Jr., and Alexandre Lacroix, seeded 17th, will face the third-seeded team from Stanford, Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thatcher, in the other semifinals Sunday.
NCAA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP Stanford, Calif. Saturday Quarterfinal Results No. 3 Bradley Klahn-Ryan Thacher, STANFORD, d. No. 13 Vahid Mirzadeh-Connor Smith, FLORIDA, STATE, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2 No. 4 Jeff Dadamo-Austin Krajicek (3), TEXAS A&M, d. No. 5 Roberto Maytin-John Peers, BAYLOR, 6-2, 7-6 (4) No. 14 Kevin King-Juan Spir, GEORGIA TECH, d. No. 7 Reid Carleton-Henrique Cunha, DUKE, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 No. 17 Sekou Bangoura Jr.-Alexandre Lacroix, FLORIDA, d. No. 18 Austen Childs-Viktor Maksimcuk, LOUISVILLE, 6-3, 6-2