DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 4 Duke women’s tennis team won its seventh straight match and the sixth straight without giving up a single point after sweeping Notre Dame 7-0 on Friday afternoon in Ambler Tennis Stadium.
Duke improves to 13-1 on the season, 5-0 in the ACC and 5-0 at home this season. Notre Dame drops to 10-5 overall and 2-3 in conference.
“We’ve been able to clean up a lot of things, especially with doubles play,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “I thought in the beginning of the season we played too much to protect our rankings and we can’t play that way. We can’t go out to protect something. The last month, we’ve done a really good job of just playing and having fun and being free and not worrying about that if we lose a doubles match, we’re going to drop from two in the country to five in the country. You can see they’re more relaxed and having more fun with our doubles than in the beginning of the year and that comes from practice too. With the lack of matches, we’ve also been able to get some rest. We took a few days off at the beginning of this week, which in the middle of March we don’t normally get and it gives us a chance to load up for the back half of the season.”
Duke barely broke a sweat in doubles play, dropping just one of the first 17 games across the three courts. Meible Chi and Hannah Zhao jumped out to a 5-0 lead on court three and closed out Rachel Chong and Bess Waldrem 6-1 to put Duke halfway to the doubles point. Kaitlyn McCarthy and Ellyse Hamlin collected a 5-0 lead of their own before dropping the sixth game against Cameron Corse and Zoe Spence. Samantha Harris and Kelly Chen split the first two games with Brooke Broda and Allison Miller before roaring back to win four straight games. A simultaneous finish of game seven on courts one and two allowed both Duke tandems to collect 6-1 wins.
“I thought our doubles was really good,” Ashworth said. “We actually told them, we’re not going to coach you guys a lot in doubles today. I want to let you guys play and make sure you do the little things right. We’ll remind you about things, but we’re not going to get on you about them. I thought we played pretty free. We went out and just played and took care of what we needed to. We served well and finished balls at the net, which are all things we’ve been working on so it was really good to see.
In singles, Chi continued her recent dominance as the Weston, Fla., native won the first nine games to cruise to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Miller at position No. 2. It is the 18th straight win for Chi and moves her record to 14-0 in dual matches.
McCarthy dropped the first game of her match against Corse, but after that she found her groove as she closed out the first set 6-1 and then won the first five games of the second set for an eventual 6-1, 6-1 win.
Harris had a hard fought first set with Broda on court one, as the pair were tied at two and three games apiece. Harris eventually prevailed in the first set and then dominated the second set as she won 6-3, 6-1 for her 34th career ACC win.
Chen and Zhao both earned straight set victories as well. Zhao beat Caroline Dunleavy 6-1, 6-3 on court six and Chen used come backs in both sets to beat Spence 6-3, 6-4.
“Singles was, we won a couple there fairly quickly” said Ashworth. “We struggled at some spots. A little bit lower in the lineup, I’ve been saying it over and over, but we need to value every point that we play. No one is going to roll over for us, even if we win a set easily. Everyone in our conference is too good and the players are too good and have too much pride. We need to have better starts to our second sets, especially on Sunday against a really good Miami team. We need to be ready to play and expect them to play a really good match.”
Hamlin and Ally Bojczuk needed all three sets to separate them on court five. Hamlin won the first set 6-1 while Bojczuk took the second by the same margin. The momentum seemed to entirely rest with Bojczuk as she won the first three sets of the decisive third set but Hamlin was perfect the rest of the way, winning six straight games to prevail 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 and keep Duke’s shutout streak alive.
Duke will have another home match on Sunday afternoon as the Blue Devils welcome Miami to Sheffield Indoor Tennis Stadium for a 12:00 p.m. match.
“We need to continue valuing every point and every match we play,” Ashworth added. “Nothing’s really changing with our mindset from the first match we played. We said every match is an opportunity, it doesn’t matter who we play, when we play. We need to value those opportunities to show how good that we can play. I think we’ve done a good job of that and we need to keep doing that because the matches keep getting tougher and tougher.”
- #7 Samantha Harris (DUKE) def. Brooke Broda (ND) 6-3, 6-1
- #60 Meible Chi (DUKE) def. Allison Miller (ND) 6-0, 6-1
- #69 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DUKE) def. Cameron Corse (ND) 6-1, 6-1
- #29 Kelly Chen (DUKE) def. Zoe Spence (ND) 6-3, 6-4
- #73 Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE) def. Ally Bojczuk (ND) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
- Hannah Zhao (DUKE) def. Caroline Dunleavy (ND) 6-1, 6-3
- #5 Samantha Harris/Kelly Chen (DUKE) def. Brooke Broda/Allison Miller (ND) 6-1
- #6 Ellyse Hamlin/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DUKE) def. Cameron Corse/Zoe Spence (ND) 6-1
- Meible Chi/Hannah Zhao (DUKE) def. Rachel Chong/Bess Waldram (ND) 6-1
Notre Dame 10-5, 2-3 ACC
Duke University Women's Tennis 13-1, 5-0 ACC; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,3,1,6,4,5)
Official: Gerard Baisch T-2:20 A-98