TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 3 Duke women’s tennis team dropped its second doubles point of the season, but rebounded with a five wins in singles to defeat No. 12 Florida State 5-2 on Friday night to begin ACC action. The Blue Devils secured the clinching point from Meible Chi with a three-set comeback win on court two.
With the victory, Duke improves to 8-1 (1-0 ACC) while the Seminoles slip to 9-2 (1-1 ACC).
“This match was a tough start,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “I don’t think anyone was happy with our doubles play. We came out and missed way too many balls. We let Florida State dictate the doubles and two and three and we can’t do that against a very good team. I thought we did a great job in singles winning five of six matches with a great opportunity to win all six. We overcame the adversity of dropping the doubles point and it showed a lot about the character of our team. We were playing outside, under the lights for the first time in months and it could have been really easy to let those little things get to us. We were very tough mentally in our singles which is great to see. There was a lot of fight and emotion and if we can put that together with some good doubles, good things can happen.”
The Seminoles took a 1-0 lead with their 10th doubles point of the season. Duke actually captured first doubles decision as the No. 18 pair of Kaitlyn McCarthy and Ellyse Hamlin downed Emmanuelle Salas and Ana Oparenovic, 6-2, on court one. The Blue Devils jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 5-1 before finishing off the match. McCarthy and Hamlin improved to 8-1 this season and stretched their winning streak to six matches.
Florida State answered on court two, where Carla Touly and Ariana Rahmanparast defeated the No. 56 team of Maria Mateas and Margaryta Bilokin, 6-1. The Seminoles finished the point on court three with a 6-3 triumph from Petra Hule and Andrea Garcia against Kelly Chen and Chi. Chen and Chi were even at 2-2 in the set before falling behind 5-2. The Duke tandem got a game back before Florida State finished off the match.
In singles, Duke started the comeback and quickly made it a 1-1 affair with Bilokin winning 6-1, 6-3 on court five against Hule. After breezing through the first set, Bilokin was even at 2-2 in the second before capturing four of the final five games to take the match. She improves to 6-2 overall this year.
A 6-2, 6-3 victory by No. 22 Mateas on court one against No. 32 Touly pushed Duke’s lead to 2-1. Mateas jumped out to 2-0 and 5-1 advantages in the first set before closing it out. Touly took a 3-2 lead in the second set, but Mateas bounced back with four consecutive wins to take the match. The victory snapped a three-match losing streak for Mateas.
Seconds later, the Blue Devils made it a 3-1 advantage with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory by No. 26 Chen versus Salas on court three. Neither side led by more than a game in the first set before Chen took it in the tiebreaker. The second set was deadlocked at 2-2, but Chen broke and held to take a 4-2 lead. Salas got a game back to trail just 4-3, only to see Chen take the final two games for the match.
Court two provided the clinching point for the Blue Devils with No. 18 Chi coming back to top Oparenovic, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. Chi led 3-1 in the opening set, but Oparenovic came back with six wins in the last eight games. Chi responded with a dominant second set to fore the deciding third. With the final set even at 2-2, Chi registered three consecutive wins to go up 5-2. Oparenovic tallied one final win before Chi ended the match. Chi improved to a team-best 16-4 this season with the victory.
FSU got back on the board on court four to trail 4-2 as Nandini Das held off No. 108 McCarthy for a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 triumph. McCarthy dug herself a 4-1 hole in the beginning set, only to even the action at 5-5. Das took the final two games for the opening set, but McCarthy answered in the second. Even at 3-3, McCarthy won six consecutive games to take the second set and go ahead 3-0 in the third. With McCarthy up 4-1, Das rallied and did not drop another game to come back for the three-set victory.
Duke registered its final point on court six, where No. 124 Hamlin pushed past Julia Mikulski, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Neither side led by more than a game in the opening set until a break and hold for Hamlin turned a 4-4 tie into the set win. The second set had Mikulski go on a late run with three-straight wins to go from 3-3 to forcing a third set. Hamlin trailed 2-0 and 3-1 before ripping off three consecutive wins to take a 4-3 advantage. Mikulski evened the set at 4-4, but Hamlin took the last two games for the match. She improves to 8-0 this year.
“Miami is one of the toughest places in the ACC to play … just with how their courts are and with the fans there,” Ashworth said. “We have to keep building. We spent a lot of time today talking about the importance of the ACC and what we do now will put us in position down the road in the ACC and NCAA Tournament. We historically have put a lot of pride in what we’ve accomplished in the conference. Miami is another opportunity for us to show that and have an all-around good effort against a top-20 team on the road.”
Duke returns to action Sunday at No. 18 Miami for a 12 noon first serve.
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Tennis Match Results
Duke vs Florida State University
Feb 22, 2019 at Tallahassee, Fla.
(Scott Speicher Memorial Tennis Center)
#3 Duke 5, #12 Florida State University 2
1. #22 Maria Mateas (DU) def. #32 Carla Touly (FS) 6-2, 6-3
2. #18 Meible Chi (DU) def. Ana Oparenovic (FS) 5-7, 6-1, 6-3
3. #26 Kelly Chen (DU) def. Emmanuelle Salas (FS) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
4. Nandini Das (FS) def. #108 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) 7-5, 3-6, 6-4
5. Margaryta Bilokin (DU) def. Petra Hule (FS) 6-1, 6-3
6. #124 Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Julia Mikulski (FS) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
1. #18 Kaitlyn McCarthy/Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Emmanuelle Salas/Ana Oparenovic (FS) 6-2
2. Carla Touly/Ariana Rahmanparast (FS) def. #56 Maria Mateas/Margaryta Bilokin (DU) 6-1
3. Petra Hule/Andrea Garcia (FS) def. Kelly Chen/Meible Chi (DU) 6-3
Duke 8-1, 1-0; National ranking #3
Florida State University 9-2, 1-1; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,1,3,2,4,6)