ORLANDO, Fla. – In a battle of the blues, sophomore Kelly Chen continued her run in the NCAA Singles Championship Thursday as she defeated No. 20 Sara Daavettila of North Carolina (6-3, 6-4) in quarterfinal action at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
“I am really excited,” Chen said. “It’s my first time in the semifinals and I’m excited for what’s to come tomorrow.”
With the victory, Chen improves to 26-4 this season and becomes the fifth Blue Devil to reach the semifinals of the singles championship and the first since 2014.
Thursday marks her third straight win over a higher ranked opponent, adding No. 10 Anna Rogers, No. 6 Fernanda Contreras and Daavettila to her 2019 NCAA individual résumé.
Chen got off to a fast start in the first set with a 5-0 lead before Daavettila attempted to respond by winning three straight but was unable to hold off Chen in the opening frame.
The Cerritos, Calif., native continued her explosive start into the second to hold a 3-0 advantage. Daavettila responded and came within a game of tying it up until Chen sealed the deal to send her to the semifinals.
Despite having spent time in the hospital after Duke’s 4-1 victory over fourth-ranked South Carolina in the quarterfinals of the team championships last Friday, Chen has been relentless in her pursuit in individuals by winning five consecutive matches.
“The past few days, I’ve just been thinking that I didn’t have cramps and two IV drips for nothing,” Chen said. “I wasn’t going to let myself lose in the round of 16 or today. I’m just trying to give it everything I have.”
No. 21 Chen will face second-ranked Katarina Jokic of Georgia in the semifinals on Friday, which will continue to be broadcast on the Tennis Channel.
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
Singles – Quarterfinals
No. 21 Kelly Chen (Duke) def. No. 20 Sara Daavettila (North Carolina) 6-3, 6-4