ORLANDO, Fla. – A back-and-forth battle came to a heartbreaking end Saturday evening in the semifinals of the NCAA Team Championship as the fifth-ranked Duke women’s tennis team fell to top-ranked Georgia, 4-2, at the USTA National Campus.
2019 featured Duke in the finals of the ACC Championship and the semifinals of the NCAA Team Championship and the ITA Indoor National Championships.
For the first time in the NCAA Championships, the Blue Devils dropped the doubles point. No. 47 Kelly Chen and Ellyse Hamlin fell to No. 28 Lourdes Carle and Katarina Jokic, 6-2, on court one. The Bulldogs then took the lead into the match with a 6-4 victory on court two as Elena Christofi and Vivian Wolff defeated No. 24 Meible Chi and Kaitlyn McCarthy.
With the losses, Chen and Hamlin fall to 8-7 as Chi and McCarthy drop to 11-2.
Georgia extended its lead by capturing the first singles court as second-ranked Katarina Jokic defeated 11th-ranked Maria Mateas (6-0, 6-4) on court one. Jokic cruised past Mateas in the first set before Mateas won three straight games but was unable to hold off the second-ranked player in the country.
Chen gave Duke its first point of the match with a win on court three. Chen, tabbed No. 21 by the ITA, defeated Carle (6-2, 7-5) for her 22nd victory this season. Chen led the majority of the first set before she dropped to 1-3 in the second frame. The last seven games were back-and-forth with Chen ultimately pulling out the victory.
Doubles partner Hamlin followed in Chen’s footsteps shortly after as she pulled out the second-set tiebreak over Christofi to win the court 6-2, 7-6 (6). Hamlin, a standout player in her four years at Duke, battled with Christofi and led 5-3 in the second frame before Christofi won three straight. Hamlin evened it up at six and secured the tiebreak victory to even the match at 2-2.
Wolff, one of Georgia’s five ranked athletes, tallied the Bulldogs’ third point of the match. No. 72 Wolff defeated McCarthy 6-3, 7-6 (7) on court four in another tiebreak situation. The second set was an absolute battle as both players were able to even the score to force the tiebreak. McCarthy fought off several game points but was unable to secure the court.
It all came down to the remaining courts of two and six for the match.
Georgia tallied its final point to send them to the championship match as No. 122 Meg Kowalski held off rookie Margaryta Bilokin on court six. Kowalski clinched the match with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory. Bilokin sent the court to a third set and trailed 0-3 and 1-4 before she was able to cut the lead to 4-5.
Though the team portion of the NCAA Championships have concluded for Duke, five Blue Devils will return to the court for individuals. Kelly Chen, Meible Chi and Maria Mateas will compete in singles while seniors Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy will team up for doubles action beginning Monday.
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Tennis Match Results
Duke vs Georgia
May 18, 2019 at Orlando, Fla.
(USTA National Campus)
#1 Georgia 4, #5 Duke 2
1. #2 Katarina Jokic (UGA) def. #11 Maria Mateas (DU) 6-0, 6-4
2. #19 Marta Gonzalez (UGA) vs. #33 Meible Chi (DU) 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 5-5, unfinished
3. #21 Kelly Chen (DU) def. #69 Lourdes Carle (UGA) 6-2, 7-5
4. #72 Vivian Wolff (UGA) def. Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) 6-3, 7-6 (9-7)
5. Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. Elena Christofi (UGA) 6-2, 7-6 (8-6)
6. #122 Meg Kowalski (UGA) def. Margaryta Bilokin (DU) 7-5, 5-7, 6-4
1. #28 Lourdes Carle/Katarina Jokic (UGA) def. #47 Kelly Chen/Ellyse Hamlin (DU) 6-2
2. Vivian Wolff/Elena Christofi (UGA) def. #24 Meible Chi/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) 6-4
3. Meg Kowalski/Marta Gonzalez (UGA) vs. Margaryta Bilokin/Maria Mateas (DU) 5-3, unfinished
Duke 27-4; National ranking #5
Georgia 28-1; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (1,3,5,4,6)
NCAA Tournament Semifinals
Played on USTA Collegiate Courts 1-6, doubles played on 2-4
Oracle/ITA Team Rankings: Georgia #2, Duke #5