DURHAM, N.C.—The 14th-ranked Duke women's tennis team extended its win streak to 12 matches and remained perfect and Atlantic Coast Conference action with a solid 5-2 victory over No. 26 Wake Forest Thursday afternoon. The Blue Devils have not dropped a match since Feb. 12.
Duke improves to 16-3 overall and 10-0 against league foes. The Blue Devils are one of two unbeaten teams in the ACC, sitting atop the league standings with Georgia Tech.
A strong comeback in doubles provided Duke with the early 1-0 lead as the Blue Devils captured wins on courts two and three. Duke earned the first decision with a 6-3 triumph by Samantha Harris and Ellyse Hamlin against Courtney Meredith and Luisa Fernandez on court three. The match was tied at each of the first three points before Duke rattled off the last three games.
Wake Forest evened the doubles action seconds later as Kimmy Guerin and Anna Ulyashchenko topped No. 36 Meible Chi and Kaitlyn McCarthy 6-4 on court one. With a 2-2 tie, the Demon Deacons took the next two games to lead 4-2. The Blue Devil pair got it down to a one-game deficit twice at 4-3 and 5-4, but couldn't force the tie as Wake Forest held on.
Duke used a big rally on court two with Alyssa Smith and Chalena Scholl earning a 7-5 win over Chandler Carter and Emma Davis to finish the double point. Wake Forest led 3-0 and 4-1 before Duke rallied with four-straight wins to go up 5-4. The Demon Deacon pair broke back to even the set at 5-5, but Duke broke and held to end the match as the Wake Forest deuce point in the final game sailed wide.
“We just have to start better,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We have to be ready to play. I told them after doubles that we have to do a better job in singles at being ready right away. The scoring is too quick. You can’t come out and work yourself into something because you’re behind.”
Riding the momentum from the doubles victory, the Blue Devils took four of the six opening sets in singles play. However, it was Wake Forest tying the match with a 6-4, 6-1 victory by Emma Davis on court two. The loss by Chi was just her 11th of the year and drops her to 6-3 against ACC foes.
Senior Chalena Scholl quickly put the Blue Devils in front 2-1, racing to her 12th straight victory. The Florida native breezed past Ulyashchenko 6-3, 6-0 to improve to 25-5 overall and 10-0 in league action. She is an impressive 13-0 from the third position and last dropped a match Feb. 11.
The Blue Devils remained in control, picking up wins from Ellyse Hamlin on court six and Alyssa Smith on five to clinch the team victory. Hamlin and Meredith traded breaks to start the first set, but a break midway through the set proved to be the difference. She used an early break in the second set to capture her seventh ACC victory, 6-3, 6-3.
Smith’s match on five proved to be slightly more exciting in the first set as she had to fight off a furious comeback from Fernandez to take the first set 7-3 in the tiebreak. The second set was all Smith with the senior dominating each game en route to the 7-6 (3), 6-0 triumph.
The Demon Deacons tacked on another win from court one before a red-hot McCarthy grabbed her 13th straight victory in beating Carter 6-3, 7-5 on court four.
“I think I’ve gained confidence from the wins and the team doing well gives you confidence,” said McCarthy. “I feel like in all the matches I’ve sharpened up my game a lot and mentally too in staying in close matches. I haven’t had easy matches during this streak, but mentally I feel like I’ve been there for every match.”
McCarthy picked up a break midway through the first set and then used a break at 5-5 to keep her win streak alive. The most recent ACC Player of the Week, McCarthy is 21-5 overall and 10-0 in league play. She is 15-1 from the fourth position and hasn’t lost a set since March 19 and a match since Feb. 10.
“I do try to start off quickly,” McCarthy said. “My goal in first sets is to try and get at least two of the first three games to start off strong. I think going into some of my matches, my opponents are a little unsure where they stand when they play me so if I can get in their head early that I’m going to play well and make it hard on them to win games then I think they approach the match a lot differently than if you start slower.”
Duke hits the road for its next two matches before closing out the season at home. The Blue Devils next take on Syracuse, April 15 with first serve coming at 11 a.m.
#14 Duke 5, #26 Wake Forest 2
Apr 13, 2017 at Durham, N.C. (Ambler Tennis Stadium)
|1. #52 Kimmy Guerin (WF) def. #73 Samantha Harris (DU) 7-5, 6-3|
|2. Emma Davis (WF) def. #33 Meible Chi (DU) 6-4, 6-1|
|3. #50 Chalena Scholl (DU) def. Anna Ulyashchenko (WF) 6-3, 6-0|
|4. Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def. Chandler Carter (WF) 6-3, 7-5|
|5. Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Luisa Fernandez (WF) 7-6 (7-3), 6-0|
|6. Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Courtney Meredith (WF) 6-3, 6-3|
|1. Kimmy Guerin/Anna Ulyashchenko (WF) def. #36 Meible Chi/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) 6-4|
|2. Chalena Scholl/Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Emma Davis/Chandler Carter (WF) 7-5|
|3. Samantha Harris/Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Courtney Meredith/Luisa Fernandez (WF) 6-3|
|Wake Forest 16-7, 6-5 ACC; National ranking #26|
|Duke 16-3, 10-0 ACC; National ranking #14|
|Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,3,6,5,1,4)|