DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 4 Duke women’s tennis team posted its second consecutive dominant win, beating Dartmouth 7-0 on Sunday afternoon in Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
Duke improves to 8-1 on the season while Dartmouth drops to 5-5. Duke has now won its last 18 home matches.
Duke took the doubles point with strong efforts on courts one and three. The ITA’s third-ranked pairing of Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy led the way with a 6-2 win over Julia Schroeder and Abigail Chiu at position No. 1. The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead when Meible Chi and Hannah Zhao beat Catherine Cable and Allison Chuang 6-2.
“We weren’t happy with how we played doubles,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We talk a lot about playing the ball not our opponent. A short ball is a short ball, no matter who’s on the other side of the net. I thought we played too much of our opponent today and didn’t worry about ourselves. After the doubles I told them, in singles we have to play the ball. We can’t look at rankings and outside stuff and let it influence how we play.
Duke took early leads on all six courts in singles play and never looked back. The Blue Devils led 3-0 in the first set on every single court and allowed Dartmouth to win just six total games in the first set.
“I thought we did a great job of recovering from not so great doubles and playing really good singles,” Ashworth said. “I thought we were dominant in our singles play. We were up 3-0 on every court, all the way down. Having the time to talk to them after the doubles, they responded very well and they’re mature enough to respond to that. If we get on them for something, they can handle themselves. It was very good to see their maturity level and put some shaky doubles behind them and move forward and focus on the singles.”
McCarthy was the first Duke player to close out her match, beating Chiu 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2. Not far behind her was Rebecca Smaller. Smaller picked up her first dual match win of the season by beating Maddie Hwang 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6.
The match clinching point came at position No. 5. After a 6-1 first set, Zhao dropped the first two games of the second set, the only time Duke trailed in a singles match. Zhao bounced back by winning six of the final seven games though to cruise past Chuyang Guan 6-1, 6-3.
With the match in hand, the three remaining Blue Devils did not let up. Kelly Chen beat Raquel Lyn on No. 2 6-1, 6-2. Chi stayed undefeated in dual matches with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Cable at No. 4. Rounding out the sweep was Samantha Harris beating Schroeder 6-2, 6-3 on No. 1.
Duke will return to ACC play this weekend. The Blue Devils will travel to Wake Forest for a 4:00 p.m. match on Friday, March 2, followed by a trip to Virginia for a match on Sunday, March 4.
“Getting back into conference is exciting for us,” Ashworth added. “Both Wake Forest and Virginia have gotten some good wins in the last couple of weeks and so it’s two opportunities for us and two steps we need to take. Hopefully we have a good week of practice and can go up and play two really good matches next weekend.”