ATHENS, Ga. - Duke freshman Beatrice Capra advanced to the Round of 16 and became the 30th player in program history to garner All-America honors with a second round victory in the 2012 NCAA Women's Singles Championship Thursday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, their two doubles teams were unable to advance out of the first round of the tournament.
Capra, seeded second in the 64-player draw, opened the morning against 43rd-ranked Lindsey Hardenbergh of Virginia in her second round singles matchup. The Ellicott City, Md., native easily won the first set, 6-2, but Hardenbergh refused to go down without a fight. Hardenbergh, a 2012 All-ACC selection, responded with a 6-4 second set victory to send the match to a decisive third frame. Capra regained the momentum and took the final set, 6-1, to reach Friday's Round of 16.
"It was a really tough match," Capra said. "She definitely made me work to win that match today. I think in the first set, I did a good job of stepping up and moving forward in the court. In the second set, she made me play a lot more balls and I was kind of on the defense. I knew what I needed to do to win that match in the third set and I just did it."
In doubles, Duke's 21st-ranked tandem comprised of junior Mary Clayton and freshman Ester Goldfeld took on California's fifth-seeded Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting in their first round match. The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first set, but the Golden Bears responded by taking the next six games en route to a 6-3 first set victory. Goldfeld and Clayton responded in the second set, jumping out to another 3-1 lead before taking the frame, 6-4, to force a final set.
Both sides held serve for most of the decisive frame, as the match moved into a tie-break. Goransson and Schutting jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but the Blue Devils came all the way back to tie it at 6-6. The Golden Bears would take three of the final four points to survive the upset scare and eliminate Clayton and Goldfeld, who finish their 2012 campaign with a 16-14 record as a doubles team.
The final match of the day pitted the Blue Devils' 17th-ranked duo of Capra and sophomore Rachel Kahan up against Georgia's 27th-ranked unit of Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist. Duke fell behind 4-0 in the early going, before dropping the first set, 6-2. Trailing 5-2 in the second set, the Blue Devils broke the Bulldogs twice to force a 5-5 tie, but Georgia went on to take the final two games for a 7-5 second set victory and eliminate Duke's only remaining doubles team. Kahan and Capra finish the 2012 season with a 21-7 overall mark.
Capra will take on the ninth-ranked Lauren Embree from the University of Florida in tomorrow's Round of 16 at 11 a.m.
NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships May 23-28, 2012 at Athens, Ga. (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)