DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 4 Duke women’s tennis team will play at home for the first time in nearly a month when the Blue Devils play host to Dartmouth on Sunday in Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
“Practice has been great,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We’ve been able to do a lot of really quality work. Working on specific things with specific players. The biggest thing is we’ve been able to do a lot of individual work and individual attention over the last two weeks. Hopefully we see the fruit of our labor this weekend against Dartmouth.”
Sunday’s match will be the first all-time meeting between Duke and Dartmouth. The Blue Devils are 31-4 in matchups with Ivy League foes, with the most recent a 4-0 win over Columbia in 2014.
Dartmouth is off to a 5-4 start in dual match play. The Big Green is coming off reaching the finals of the ECAC Indoor Championship where it fell to Princeton 4-1. Dartmouth is paced by Kristina Mathis who is 13-6 this season. On the doubles side, Mathis and Racquel Lyn both have a team-high 10 wins.
“Kind of like a lot of our matches, we just need to worry about ourselves,” commented Ashworth. “We can make adjustments through the match as needed, but concentrate on what we’ve been working on with each player. If our girls can go out and have that focus and do what we’ve been working on, the results will take care of themselves.”
The Blue Devils are 3-0 at home this season and own an impressive 82-8 (.911) record over the past seven seasons. Duke is currently riding a 17-match home winning streak dating back to the 2015-16 campaign. Duke opened its home slate with a 7-0 win over Elon and then beat Fresno State (4-0) and Washington (4-2) in the ITA Kickoff Weekend.
“We’ve had a great track record playing at home the last couple of years and we’re comfortable here and usually play well here,” Ashworth said. “With what we have coming up and where we’ve been the last couple weeks, it’s a great opportunity to be as fresh as we’ve can and stay within our regular routine with practices. It’s been good and we’ll see the results from that.”
Duke beat N.C. State 6-1 last weekend to win its ACC opener for the 32nd time in 33 tries. It moved the Blue Devils to 7-1 on the season, including wins over then No. 19 South Carolina and No. 4 Georgia. Duke’s only loss came to then No. 5 North Carolina in the ITA Indoor Championships Semifinals.
Kelly Chen is the two-time reigning ACC Freshman of the Week and she leads the Blue Devils with a 19-7 record, including 6-1 in dual matches. Chen moved to the No. 2 position for the first time against N.C. State and beat Adriana Reami 6-3, 7-5. She has a 5-6 record against nationally ranked opponents.
Samantha Harris continues to hold the No. 1 position for Duke. Harris is 18-7 overall this season and is 3-1 in dual matches. With the 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win over N.C. State’s Anna Rogers, Harris became just the fourth Duke player to win 30 ACC singles matches. She has a team-high seven ranked wins against just four losses.
Meible Chi and Ellyse Hamlin have covered the No. 4 and No. 5 positions for Duke and are 14-1 combined there. Chi is 7-0 at No. 5 and 1-0 at No. 4. She is on a 12 match winning streak and is 17-3 this season. Hamlin is 5-1 at No. 4 and 1-0 at No. 5 and beat N.C. State’s Helene Grimm 6-1, 6-3 last Sunday.
Kaitlyn McCarthy and Hamlin lead Duke with a 15-4 doubles record. The junior tandem is 4-2 in doubles matches, all coming at the No. 2 position. They are also 4-1 against nationally ranked duos. Right behind them is Harris and Chen who are 13-5 as a pair. Harris and Chen picked up their first ACC win of the year by beating Amanda Rebol and Reami 6-2.
Duke checks in at No. 4 in both the ITA and USTA team rankings. Duke has two doubles teams ranked in the top six of the ITA poll. Hamlin and McCarthy check in at No. 3 while Harris and Chen are No. 6. Four Blue Devils rank in the 87 of the singles poll. Harris leads the way at No. 10. Chen is at No. 22, the highest she has been ranked. At No. 47 is Chi and rounding out the quartet is McCarthy at No. 87.
“This weekend gives us a great opportunity to clean up some things, especially with our doubles play,” Ashworth added. “But we’ve put in the time before we head into ACC play. This weekend will give us a great opportunity under pressure situations and see where we are before we head back into ACC play.”
The match is scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon in Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. All regular season Duke women’s tennis home events are free to the public. General public parking is available in the Blue zone parking lot off of Duke University Road.