DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 17 Duke women’s tennis team played its first home match of the month and blew past No. 29 Virginia 6-1 on Friday at Ambler Tennis Stadium. The victory kept Duke unbeaten in ACC play at 4-0 while the Cavaliers suffered their first ACC setback and are now 5-1.
Duke captured five of six first sets in singles and won four singles contests in straight sets. In those four matches, the Blue Devils lost a combined 12 games. Alyssa Smith tallied the clinching match on court five.
“Today was good,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “It was good to get the doubles point and capitalize on that with some great singles matches. We won pretty quickly on courts two, four and six. When we get the doubles point, we want to get a quick singles match to put more pressure on the other team. We were able to step up and do that today.”
The Blue Devils started their point march in doubles, breaking 3-3 ties on courts one and three with three straight victories to take the early 1-0 lead. On court one, the No. 26 team of Meible Chi and Kaitlyn McCarthy downed Rosie Johanson and Meghan Kelley 6-3. Chi and McCarthy snapped a 1-1 tie and went ahead 3-1, only to have Johanson and Kelley answer to even the set at 3-3. Duke rebounded with the final three games for the win. Chi and McCarthy up their mark to 8-1 overall and 3-1 versus ACC foes.
On court three, Samantha Harris and Ellyse Hamlin played to the same pattern and ended with the same 6-3 win, topping Camille Favero and Brooke Sutherland 6-3. Harris and Hamlin led 3-1, were tied 3-3 and captured the final three games. Harris and Hamlin are 7-4 overall and 1-1 against league foes.
“That was my Sam and my first win since the fall,” Hamlin said. “For us, that was just a confidence boost to finish the match and get the win. Obviously, we want to help in any way we can to get that doubles point, which is crucial in ACC matches. It was good for Sam and I to get that done.”
The match on court two was halted with Cassie Mercer and Teodora Radosavljevic leading Chalena Scholl and Smith 5-3.
“We spent a lot of time again this week working on doubles and trying to shore up our doubles as we go through this tough stretch of ACC matches,” Ashworth said. “We did a good job today with playing simple doubles. That’s something we’ve talked a lot about.
Duke quickly pushed the lead to 2-0 as Hamlin sprinted past Sutherland 6-1, 6-0 on court six. Hamlin is now 6-3 and 3-0 in ACC matches.
“You always like finishing as fast as possible,” Hamlin added. “That keeps you healthy and keeps you focused. Even if it’s not from me, but seeing another one of my teammates finishing quickly and seeing that 2-0 or evening it at 1-1 up on the board boosts everyone’s mentality. Emotionally, everyone is just able to focus a little more and keep pushing to get to four points.”
The Blue Devils made it a 3-0 advantage on court two, where No. 25 Chi topped No. 94 Mercer 6-1, 6-3. Chi blew through the opening set and led 5-1 in the second before Mercer got two games back. Chi broke to end the match. Chi is now 25-9 overall and 3-1 against league foes.
Smith clinched the match for Duke, easing past Favero 6-4, 6-1 on court five. The first set was tied at each of the first four points before Smith held and broke to end it. She led 2-0 in the second set before Favero got a game back for a 2-1 deficit. Smith answered with the last four games to win the match. Smith improves to 11-13 overall and 3-1 versus ACC opponents.
Seconds later, No. 76 McCarthy made it a 5-0 Duke lead as she stormed past Radosavljevic 6-0, 6-2. After cruising through the opening set, the second was even at 1-1 and 2-2 before McCarthy captured the final four games. McCarthy ups her mark to 15-5 overall and 4-0 in league action.
“It was great to get those quick matches,” Ashworth added. “Virginia always competes so well. They’re really well coached. We’ve had trouble with them in the past. They beat us in the ACC Championships last year. It was good for us to get this win, and do it quickly seeing as we play again Sunday.”
Virginia got its point on court one, where No. 44 Johanson held off No. 49 Harris 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (8). Harris trailed 4-1 in the first set before rallying with three-straight games to knot the set at 4-4. From there, Johanson took the last two. Harris responded in the second set, turning a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 lead. Johanson got a game back to make it a 4-2 lead, but Harris captured the last two. With the overall match already determined, the two played a first-to-10 tiebreaker of a third set. In it, Harris rolled through the first eight points before Johanson took the next 10 to win. Harris slips to 9-7 overall and 3-1 against ACC competition.
On court three, No. 52 Scholl and Kelley also went three sets with Scholl holding on for a 6-0, 6-7 (4), 1-0 (6) triumph. Scholl swept through the first seven games before Kelley answered. The two were tied at every point of the second set and headed to the tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Scholl led 4-2, but Kelley captured the last five points to force a third set. The super tiebreaker was also used for the third set with Scholl jumping ahead 2-0. Kelley answered with a point before Scholl won the next three to lead 5-1. Kelley got three back for a 5-4 deficit, but Scholl answered with five of the final seven for the victory. Scholl lifts her record to 19-5 and 4-0 in ACC action.
The Blue Devils return to action Sunday with a home match against Virginia Tech. First serve is set for 12 noon.
No. 17 Duke 6, No. 29 Virginia 1
March 24, 2017 at Durham, N.C. (Ambler Tennis Stadium)
1. #26 Meible Chi/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def. Rosie Johanson/Meghan Kelley (VA) 6-3
2. Chalena Scholl/Alyssa Smith (DU) vs. Cassie Mercer/T. Radosavljevic (VA) 3-5, unfinished
3. Samantha Harris/Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Camille Favero/Brooke Sutherland (VA) 6-3
1. #44 Rosie Johanson (VA) def. #49 Samantha Harris (DU) 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-8)
2. #25 Meible Chi (DU) def. #94 Cassie Mercer (VA) 6-1, 6-3
3. #52 Chalena Scholl (DU) def. Meghan Kelley (VA) 6-0, 6-7 (4-7), 1-0 (10-6)
4. #76 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def. T. Radosavljevic (VA) 6-0, 6-2
5. Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Camille Favero (VA) 6-4, 6-1
6. Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Brooke Sutherland (VA) 6-1, 6-0
Virginia 7-6, 5-1 ACC; National ranking #29
Duke 10-3, 4-0 ACC; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (6,2,5,4,1,3)
Official: Matthew Dolge T-2:13 A-113