DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 9 ranked Duke women’s tennis team kicked off their dual match slate with a 7-0 win over visiting Elon on Wednesday afternoon in Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
“This is what we practice for,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We work all fall for the dual match season and it’s just a fun feeling to be back on the court in dual match completion. We’re excited to get the season going, especially here at home before this weekend and it’s an exciting time for our program and our team.”
Duke had the top two doubles teams in the International Tennis Association rankings after the fall season and appear to be developing a strong third pairing. It was that new tandem of sophomore Meible Chi and freshman Hannah Zhao that took the first match of the day, winning 6-1 over Elon’s Montana Moore and Erica Braschi. The top-ranked doubles pairing of senior Samantha Harris and freshman Kelly Chen closed out their match over Suzanne Zenoni and Maria Paraja 6-2 soon after to clinch the doubles point for the Blue Devils.
“The doubles point is huge in dual match season so it’s really great when we get that,” Harris said. “We’ve got such a solid lineup this year that I think it’s going to really help us moving forward.”
Duke showed a strong singles performance in their first time playing at home this season. All six Duke players won in straight sets, led by Chen who beat Zenoni 6-0, 6-1 in the third spot. Harris followed soon after with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Olivia Lucas on the first court and a 6-1, 6-2 win over Maria Paraja for junior Ellyse Hamlin on court was the match clinching point.
Duke did not stop after clinching the overall dual match. In her first collegiate dual meet match, Zhao beat Montana Moore 6-2, 6-1. Her doubles partner, Chi, continued her undefeated start to the fall by beating Alex Koniaev 6-2, 6-1. Chi is now 3-0 in both singles and doubles since the calendar turned to 2018. Closing out the Blue Devils sweep was Kaitlyn McCarthy, winning 6-1, 6-2 over Braschi.
Duke begins its season with a 1-0 record and are on a 15-game home winning streak. Elon drops to 2-2 so far this year.
“We played a very good Duke team,” said Elon head coach Elizabeth Anderson. “I think our team learned a lot and competed hard against them. Duke is very, very talented so we enjoyed and learned a lot from our match today.”
Duke will next play host to the ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Blue Devils play Fresno State on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in Sheffield. Duke will then play either LSU or Washington on Sunday.