ATHENS, Ga. - Duke freshman and second-ranked Beatrice Capracontinued her journey through the 2012 NCAA Women's Tennis Singles Championship Friday afternoon, defeating ninth-ranked Lauren Embree of the University of Florida, 6-1, 6-3, at a humid, sun-soaked Dan Magill Tennis Complex at the University of Georgia. The win propelled Capra into the Saturday's quarterfinals and one step closer to an individual championship.
In addition to the story of two, top-10 players facing off, Embree and Capra share a very close friendship off the courts. The two often traveled together while playing on the junior tour, and Friday's match was the first time in almost three years that the two had competed against one another.
"It's definitely hard," Capra said. "We were talking right before the match. You have to handle it as just another match and go out there and do what you need to do. Lauren is such a great competitor and that's what I love about her. We can just go fight - do whatever we need to do on the court, and then after the match, we're friends again. It's really good playing her."
Capra, the No. 2 overall seed in the draw, got off to a great start against Embree. The ITA National Co-Rookie of the Year dropped the first game to Embree, but went on to take the next six games and win the first set, 6-1.
Embree challenged Capra in the early portion of the second set, jumping out to a 3-2 lead, but Capra countered once again, claiming the subsequent four games to win the set, 6-3, and notch the straight-set victory. The win improved Capra's record to 32-4 overall, and 23-4 against ranked opponents.
"I think I was just being really aggressive and I stayed mentally solid," Capra said. "I had a really tiring match yesterday, so I knew that I needed to be really efficient with my shots and my energy, so I think I did a really good job with that today."
Capra will try to catch her breath a little, before taking on Stanford's Mallory Burdette, seeded fifth, on Saturday, May 26, in her quarterfinal match. First serve is scheduled for 12 p.m.
"I think I just need to stretch a lot, get some rest and stay out of the sun, and just keep playing the way I'm playing, working hard and hopefully it goes okay."
NCAA Singles Championship May 23-28, 2012 at Athens, Ga. (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)