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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
No. 9 Duke Set to Host ITA Kickoff Weekend
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/26/2018
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Match 2
No. 20 LSU (2-0, 0-0) vs. Washington (1-1, 0-0)
Saturday, Jan. 27 | 10 a.m.
Durham, N.C. | Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center

No. 9 Duke (1-0, 0-0) vs. Fresno State (1-0, 0-0)
Saturday, Jan. 27 | 1 p.m.
Durham, N.C. | Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center

ITA Kickoff Consolation Match
Sunday, Jan. 28 | 10 a.m.
Durham, N.C. | Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center

ITA Kickoff Championship Match
Sunday, Jan. 28 | 1 p.m.
Durham, N.C. | Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center

Twitter | Live Stats & Video (LSU v. Washington) | Live Stats & Video (Duke v. Fresno State)

DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 9 Duke women’s tennis team resumes competition this weekend, serving as one of 15 host sites for the tenth annual Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kickoff Weekend. In addition to Duke, LSU, Washington and Fresno State are also slated to compete in the two-day event, held in Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The winner from each of the 15 sites earns a trip to Madison, Wis., to compete in the 2018 ITA National Team Indoor Championships, scheduled for Feb. 9-12.

“It’s a weekend of opportunity for us and for all of the teams here,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We’re fortunate enough to get the opportunity to host and that’s a byproduct of what we’ve done in the past and especially last year’s team. So it’s time for this year’s team to take advantage of that opportunity

Duke opened up its dual match season with a 7-0 win over Elon on Wednesday afternoon. The Blue Devils took the doubles point to open the match, continuing a 9-1 doubles start to the spring.

Duke followed it up by taking all six singles points without dropping a single set. It was the third straight win over Elon and gave the Blue Devils a 39-6 all-time record in season-opening matches.

“Having played a home match already is huge,” Ashworth said. “It’s huge, from a comfort factor, from getting used to the timing situations of a match. From the five minutes in between the doubles and the singles, the no advantage sets, that kind of stuff. It all creates comfort for the team, knowing what to do, where to do it, where to be. I think we’re in a really good place and we’re excited to play and excited to take advantage of being at home.”

Duke are set to host Fresno State in what will be only the second all-time meeting between the schools. Duke won the first meeting 4-0 at the 2016 National Team Indoors Championships. Duke is a perfect 5-0 all-time against Mountain West opponents.

Fresno State comes into the weekend with a 1-0 record after downing Sacramento State 6-1. Fresno State returns three players who reached 20 singles wins last year and all three won their opening match against Sacramento State. Katerina Stloukalova paced the Bulldogs with a 24-16 record last year while Juliane Treble and Emma Wilson each tallied 23 victories. Fresno State opened its dual match season by taking all three doubles matches, as Wilson and Georgia Lawson served as the top duo.

Duke is 2-1 all-time against LSU, winning the last meeting 5-1 in 2008. Duke is 90-74 all-time against the Southeastern Conference.

The Tigers are currently ranked No. 20 in the ITA Top 25 and have a 2-0 record so far this season. LSU beat Northwestern St. 7-0 and Southern 4-0 in its first two home matches. LSU has three players with double digit singles wins this season. Eden Richardson leads the way with a 12-3 record while Elyse Lavender and Kenan Johnson are 10-2 and 10-3 respectively. Lavender is ranked 47th in the ITA singles poll while Richardson is 56th. Jessica Golovin (66th) and Ryann Foster (73) are also ranked.

Duke has won both meetings with Washington, the last a 6-1 win in 2001. Duke is 29-19 all-time against the Pac 12.

Washington is 1-1 to start its dual match slate. The Huskies beat Hawaii 5-2 on the road before returning home and losing to Texas Tech 4-1. Washington’s top singles player is Stacey Fung, who ranks sixth in the ITA singles poll. Vanessa Wong is also ranked, checking in at No. 115. Fung has nine wins this season while Wong has earned eleven. Kenandi Hance and Lana Slavica are the top doubles duo with a 5-2 record so far.

“There’s three really good teams coming here,” said Ashworth. “We have to go into tomorrow’s match against Fresno State and be ready to play our best. We have to be mentally strong and play physical matches and not save anything. We have to leave everything on the court and take advantage of that opportunity and hopefully if things go well, do the same thing on Sunday against either a very good LSU or Washington team.

The weekend of competition represents two of the team’s ten remaining home matches. The team owns an impressive 80-8 (.909) home record over the past seven season. Duke went a perfect 14-0 in Ambler Stadium and the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center during the 2016-17 campaign, beating eight ranked opponents. Duke welcomes three opponents ranked in the preseason top 25 to Durham this season, including No. 5 North Carolina, No. 19 Miami and No. 22 LSU.   

Duke has been paced by Samantha Harris and Kelly Chen on the singles side. Harris leads the team with 16 wins, including seven against national ranked opponents while Chen has 14 victories of her own. Kaitlyn McCarthy and Meible Chi have also reached 10 wins apiece after picking up wins against Elon.

On the doubles side, Harris and Chen continue to roll after being picked as the top tandem by the ITA, as they are 11-2 overall and 2-0 this spring. Right behind them is McCarthy and Ellyse Hamlin as the second-ranked pairing and they are also 11-2. Both duos have four wins over nationally ranked opponents.

“We’ve had a good few days of practice after our first match so we’re excited,” added Ashworth. “We created this opportunity so it’s a good time to take advantage of it.”

Keep up to date on all the weekend’s action from the 15 different sites by using #ITAKickoff and following @ITATennis on Twitter.

#GoDuke

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