ORLANDO, Fla. – Sophomore Kelly Chen’s incredible run at the 2019 NCAA Singles Championship came to an end Friday evening at the USTA National Campus as she fell to second-ranked Katarina Jokic in the semifinals in Orlando, Fla.
“Kelly got off to a great start and was hitting the ball really well,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “She definitely had some opportunities there in the first set. In the second set, it’s possible that the week caught up to her a little bit. This is something she should be proud of and something she can build on next year knowing she can play with the best players in the country.”
Ranked No. 21 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll, Chen was unable to pull out the tough battle against Jokic. She got off to a hot start to open the match by winning three straight games. Chen then lost four games in a row but was able to break serve to hold off Jokic’s set point but just couldn’t close out the first set.
In the second frame, the Cerritos, Calif., native fell behind 0-2 and bounced back to break serve but lost the final four in a row to end her season.
Throughout both the team and individual tournament, Chen battled adversity that included spending time in the hospital after the team’s South Carolina victory. Despite multiple IV drips the past few days, Chen always rose to the occasion and left it all on the court like the fighter she is.
“She had a lot of work,” Ashworth said. “A lot of work from everyone that was here with Tara [Moore] (athletic trainer) and coaches Matt [Manasse] and Mark [Watt]. But also, it’s a tribute to her and her personality. She set out to do great things while we were here in both the team and individual event. It’s a tribute to her to not quit. She represented our program and our school the best we could possibly ask. Everyone around our program should be proud of her.”
Chen had a memorable second season in a Duke uniform, compiling a 26-5 overall ledger this spring. She defeated 18 ranked opponents including three higher ranked foes this week during the individual championship.
Chen won 12 consecutive matches, dating back to April 10th and was a solid player in the Duke lineup at No. 2 and No. 3.
Chen was a vital part in Duke’s success as a team as they made back-to-back appearances at the finals of the ACC Championship and semifinals of the NCAA Team Championship.
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
Singles – Semifinals
No. 2 Katarina Jokic (Georgia) def. No. 21 Kelly Chen (Duke) 7-5, 6-2