CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 10th-ranked Duke women’s tennis team kicked off the National Team Indoors on Friday morning with a 4-2 victory over 11th-ranked Michigan at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.
With the victory, the seventh-seeded Blue Devils advance to face second-seeded North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 12:00 p.m.
“I thought we played well,” said Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We got off to a good start in doubles. Michigan typically has really good doubles and we haven’t won the doubles point too often against them when we’ve played. I thought the momentum from that carried with us over into singles. We got a big lift from number two doubles. Today was the first time those two had played together, and it just kind of carried over, so that was good -- they’re tough. Especially indoors, Michigan is a tough indoor team and I thought that we did well.”
The action on the doubles court was very tight to open the match except on court two as Duke’s Ester Goldfeld and Alyssa Smith won the first game and went on to cruise to a 6-2 victory over Sarah Lee and Amy Zhu of Michigan.
Seeing action together for the first time this season, Marianne Jodoin and Annie Mulholland played on court three for the Blue Devils and were going up against Kristen Dodge and Ronit Yurovsky. The Duke duo dropped the first game before winning four out of the next six to take a 4-3 advantage. Jodoin and Mulholland went ahead 6-5, but dropped the next game to head to a tiebreaker. Duke dominated play winning 7-2 to clinch the important doubles point.
On court one, Duke’s Beatrice Capra and Hanna Mar were in a battle with ninth-ranked Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender. The Blue Devil tandem led 2-1 before falling behind 3-4 to the highly ranked Michigan duo. Capra and Mar responded by winning three out of the next four games to take a 6-5 lead, but Duke clinched the doubles point and the match went unfinished.
With Duke leading 1-0 heading into singles play, Michigan jumped out to leads on each of the first four courts.
Jodoin, who is out of Varennes, Quebec, cruised from the start of her singles match against Dodge. She won the first set, 6-0, and closed her second set with a 6-3 win to put the Blue Devils ahead 2-0. The senior won her ninth straight overall singles match and improved to 5-0 in dual action.
Michigan came right back to net its first point of the afternoon on court four as Zhu collected a 7-5, 6-1 win against Smith. The first set was back-and-fourth as Smith fell down 3-1 early, but battled back to take a 4-3 advantage. Zhu closed the set strong winning four out of the next five points to win 7-5. The loss snapped a four-match winning streak for Smith.
On court two, Duke’s 45th-ranked Goldfeld was in a challenging match against 100th-ranked Lee, which saw Goldfeld being down most of the first set. The Duke standout, who is out of Brooklyn, N.Y., saw herself trailing 1-2, 3-4, 4-5 and 5-6 late in the first set, before grinding out a key 7-6 (7-3) win to give the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead.
“Ester served really well, which was big for her, because she got a couple free points when she needed them,” commented Ashworth. “She was playing some good tennis toward the end of the fall. So it was good for her to build on that. Ester actually lost a three-all match at Michigan last year, so it was a redemption thing for her as well. I think a lot of its timing, obviously, but she was really excited and I think she was playing with a lot of confidence.”
Needing one point to clinch the victory for Duke, the Wolverines came back to cut the Blue Devil advantage to 3-2 as 21st-ranked Bektas knocked off third-ranked Capra, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) on court one. Capra, who is out of Ellicott City, Md., trailed most of the entire first set but came back to take a 6-5 lead in the season set but ended up falling in a tiebreaker, 7-4.
Senior Rachel Kahan closed the match for Duke with a 6-4, 6-4 win on court five as she never trailed against Sara Remynse. A native of Unionville, Conn., improved to 3-0 on the season, after missing the entire 2012-13 campaign with an injury.
North Carolina posted a 4-3 win over Vanderbilt in the first round on Friday.
“Obviously there’s a lot of familiarity with both team styles for both teams,” said Ashworth on going up against North Carolina on Saturday. “We just have to play our game, to play with energy and play with passion. We know they’re going to want to play with a lot of energy and a lot of passion and hopefully it’ll be a good, fun match.”
Duke 4, Michigan 2
1. #21 Emina Bektas (MI) def. #3 Beatrice Capra (DU) 6-2, 7-6 (4-7)
2. #45 Ester Goldfeld (DU) def. #100 Sarah Lee (MI) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
3. #49 Hanna Mar (DU) vs. Brooke Bolender (MI) 4-6, 6-4, unfinished
4. Amy Zhu (MI) def. Alyssa Smith (DU) 7-5, 6-1
5. Rachel Kahan (DU) def. Sara Remynse (MI) 6-4, 6-4
6. Marianne Jodoin (DU) def. Kristen Dodge (MI) 6-0, 6-3
1. Beatrice Capra/Hanna Mar (DU) vs. #9 Emina Bektas/Brooke Bolender (MI) 6-5, unfinished
2. Ester Goldfeld/Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Sarah Lee/Amy Zhu (MI) 6-2
3. Marianne Jodoin/Annie Mulholland (DU) def. Kristen Dodge/Ronit Yurovsky (MI) 7-6 (7-2)
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (6,4,2,1,5)