ORLANDO, Fla. – Sophomore Kelly Chen loves big matches on a big stage and she grinded out an upset victory over sixth-ranked Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt to head to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Individual Championships.
With the victory at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., Chen improves to 25-4 this season and becomes the ninth Blue Devil to reach the quarterfinals and the first since 2014.
Wednesday marks Chen’s second straight win over a higher ranked opponent as she defeated 10th-ranked Anna Rogers of NC State in the Round of 32 on Tuesday.
Chen, a product of Cerritos, Calif., dropped the first set (6-4) to No. 6 Contreras before rallying back in the second frame. Chen trailed 3-0 and 4-1 before the sophomore won five straight games that featured a monster volley at the net to break one of Contreras’ match points to force a deciding third set.
Chen came out dominating the third set as she led 3-0 early and only dropped two sets as she held tough and grinded out the come-from-behind victory to head to the Elite 8.
Chen will face a familiar foe in North Carolina’s No. 20 Sara Daavettila in the quarterfinals Thursday.
2019 NCAA Div. I Women’s Singles Championship
May 20-25, 2019 in Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
Singles – Round of 64
No. 21 Kelly Chen (Duke) def. No. 53 Jessica Failla (Pepperdine) 6-2, 6-4
No. 45 Jada Hart (UCLA) def. No. 33 Meible Chi (Duke) 6-1, 6-1
No. 43 Asuka Kawai (Illinois) def. No. 11 Maria Mateas (Duke) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Singles – Round of 32
No. 21 Kelly Chen (Duke) def. No. 10 Anna Rogers (NCSU) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
Singles – Round of 16
No. 21 Kelly Chen (Duke) def. No. 6 Fernanda Contreras (Vanderbilt) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2