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Clemson tennis splits weekend duel with ACC opponents

Clemson Athletics
Max Smith was a crucial part of Clemson’s performance over the weekend.

On its trip out of town this past weekend, the Clemson men’s tennis team went 1-1 against ACC opponents, responding to a 4-1 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Louisville in Kentucky.

Clemson (12-12, 3-7 ACC) found a spark in first-year student Noa Vukadin during the team’s weekend travels. On Friday, his 6-1, 6-0 singles victory against Notre Dame (12-13, 3-8 ACC) earned the Tigers their only point against the Fighting Irish. He followed up Friday’s victory with a 6-4 doubles win with partner Max Smith and a 6-3, 6-0 singles win en route to a Sunday sweep against the Louisville Cardinals (13-13, 2-9 ACC).

The unlikely French and Floridian duo of Wissam Abderrhman and Max Damm impressed with their doubles play. With a score of 6-1 in both sets, the duo was the only Clemson doubles line not to drop a set this weekend.

Ryuhei Azuma proved himself worthy of his No. 108 individual ranking as he battled against top players. After winning the first set 6-4, Azuma’s match against Notre Dame’s No. 2 singles player was cut short. Likewise, the Tigers earned a 4-0 victory over the Cardinals just as the Japanese player was headed to a third set against Louisville’s Etienne Donnet, who has an individual ranking inside the top 50.

The Tigers are currently ranked No. 56 in Division I tennis and faced No. 55 Notre Dame and No. 46 Louisville this weekend. Overall, the weekend’s 1-1 record is a good result for the Tigers, who faced two strong opponents.

In March, the Tigers lost six straight matches, including five losses to ACC teams. Their victory over Louisville secured a valuable conference win, giving the Tigers much-needed momentum and confidence as they march toward the playoffs.

After a busy weekend, the Tigers rested up for their double-header on April 11. They took on Alabama State at noon, winning by a score of 7-0, and are set for a matchup with the No. 3 ranked University of Virginia (18-4, 10-0 ACC) at 5 p.m., which looks to be another tough ACC battle. With the ACC Championship set to begin on April 17, the Tigers will look to finish the season strong.

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Ethan Silipo, Senior Reporter
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