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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Four Blue Devils Earn ITA All-America Honors
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 06/06/2018
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DURHAM, N.C. – Four members of the fourth-ranked Duke women’s tennis team were named to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-America list as announced by the organization on Wednesday. Senior Samantha Harris and freshman Kelly Chen received the honor in singles as well as doubles, while juniors Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy were each named ITA All-America in doubles.

To earn All-America honors, an individual must receive a top-16 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship, reach the round of 16 in the NCAA Singles Championship, finish in the top 20 of the final ITA National Singles Rankings, garner a top-eight seed in the NCAA Doubles Championship, reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship, or finish in the top 10 of the final ITA National Doubles Rankings.

Harris adds her two All-America awards to her growing awards collection. The senior from Melbourne, Australia finished the season with a 30-12 singles record, the first time she has broken 30 wins in a season and a 25-9 doubles ledger. Amassing a 15-9 record against ranked opponents and a 15-6 mark in dual matches, Harris was awarded the No. 5 seed in the singles tournament and combined with Chen to earn a No. 5 through No. 8 seed in the doubles draw to earn her All-America commendations. Harris also closed her career by being named the ITA Carolina Region Senior Player of the Year and Most Improved Senior and the ITA National Most Improved Senior.

Chen started the tournament with All-America doubles honors, by virtue of being named a No. 5 through No. 8 seed alongside Harris. She added singles honors by reaching the Round of 16. Chen opened singles play with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) win over Pepperdine’s Evgeniya Levashova. The reigning ACC Freshman of the Year then knocked off No. 2 seed Makenna Jones of North Carolina 6-3, 6-4. Although her run came to an end against Florida’s Anna Danilina in the next round, she became the first Blue Devil to reach the Round of 16 since 2014. Chen finished the year with a 40-8 singles record, including winning 22-straight matches before the loss to Danilina, and a 26-11 doubles ledger.

Chen and Harris became the sixth and seventh Blue Devils to be named All-America in singles and doubles in the same year and it was the 11th and 12th time a Duke player had accomplished the feat. The accolades were the first of both Harris’ and Chen’s careers.

Hamlin and McCarthy ripped off 10 wins in their 12 postseason matches, including reaching the NCAA doubles semifinals. The junior tandem beat Pepperdine’s No. 13 duo of Luisa Stefani and Mayar Sherif Ahmed, Clemson’s No. 21 Fernanda Navarro and Marie Leduc and Vanderbilt’s No. 11 Fernanda Contreras and Astra Sharma to reach the penultimate match before falling to Oklahoma State’s No. 14 Vladica Babic and Sofia Blanco. Duke’s pairing finished their season with a 33-9 record, including 13-6 against ranked opponents. They won Duke’ first collegiate Grand Slam title since 2009 by winning the Riviera/ITA All-American Championship during the fall season.

Duke’s four All-America honorees is the second-most in a single season, trailing only the five Blue Devils earning the honor in 1997. It is the 17th season in program history that Duke has earned multiple All-America nods.