Tulsa, Okla. – Duke women’s tennis players Reka Zsilinszka and Ellah Nze were in action Wednesday in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championships at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. with Zsilinszka advancing to the second round.
Zsilinszka, a freshman from Fayetteville, N.C., played this afternoon and came away with a victory. Ranked No. 24 in the ITA singles rankings, Zsilinszka took on No. 37 Venise Chan. The score was close midway through the first set but Zsilinszka quickly turned a 3-2 lead into a 6-2 victory. In the second set, Chan was on serve with the score tied at 5-5 when Zsilinszka broke serve to take a 6-5 lead. She was then able to serve it out for the 6-2, 7-5 straight set victory.
“I played earlier in the day and it was real windy so it made the ball fly on one side and not on the other,” said Zsilinszka. “I just tried to keep the ball in the court like I always do. When it was 5-5 I was on the worst side of the court so I had to feed her short balls and luckily she missed a couple of shots.”
With the victory Zsilinszka moves to improves to 39-5 in her first season. She is now 8-1 when going head-to-head with a ranked opponent this year. She will move on to the round of 32 where she will face No. 57 Lindsey Nelson of Southern California at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Nelson upset No. 15 Megan Falcon of LSU in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
“Going through the tournament you can get caught waiting for your opponent to make mistakes instead of playing to win,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “Reka ran into that a little bit today but the important thing for her was she got off to such a good start.”
Nze, a freshman from Tampa, Fla., took on No. 54 Andrea Remynse of UCLA in her first match. Remynse turned a 3-3 tie in the first into a 6-4 victory to take the advantage. Nze got off to a fast start in the second set by taking the first two games. She led 3-2 before Remynse went on a run and took the next four games to close out the 6-4, 6-3 victory and advance to the second round. Nze ends her season with a 30-10 overall record in singles.
“I am disappointed in how Ellah played,” said Ashworth. “The opportunities were there. She did a good job setting up points but couldn’t finish. She put a lot of pressure on herself.”
The second round of singles will be played tomorrow at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center. The first round of doubles will also be played with Duke’s No. 7 pair of Amanda Granson and Melissa Mang taking on No. 28 Kellie Schmitt and Karolina Soor of Marshall at 3 p.m. to start the doubles championships.