DURHAM, N.C. - Sophomore Ester Goldfeld cruised to an easy singles victory on court three to lead the third-ranked Duke women's tennis team to a 6-0 win over No. 74 Wisconsin in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. With the win, the Blue Devils are set to face the winner of the match between College of Charleston and Wyoming in the championship match Sunday at 4 p.m. for a spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Women's Team Indoor Championship, to be hosted next month by the University of Virginia.
"I thought we played okay, but I really thought we competed well in singles," said head coach Jamie Ashworth. "I thought across the board we got some quick wins, and it was great to see Ester [Goldfeld] play better than last week. She struggled a bit last week, and for her to be the first one done in a quick match was good for her confidence and for our team to see that."
In doubles action, the Blue Devils came out with a lot of energy and grabbed a quick 1-0 lead on all three courts. In the No. 2 position, junior Marianne Jodoin and sophomore Annie Mulholland cruised to an easy 4-1 lead in their match against Lauren Burich and Helen Rabot, and continued their good play to win easily, 8-2.
In the No. 1 spot, senior Mary Clayton and Goldfeld traded early games with Hannah Berner and Lauren Chypyha before breaking serve and finding themselves up 4-3. At a crucial point in the match, Goldfeld ripped an ace, giving the duo a 5-3 lead. The Badger tandem responded by holding serve, but Clayton and Goldfeld won the next three games to clinch the doubles point. Junior Hanna Mar and sophomore Monica Turewicz held a 5-4 lead in their match against Katie Hoch and Anastasia Tripolskay before the doubles point was clinched, and the match was left unfinished.
Last week, Ashworth told Goldfeld she needed to do a better job of starting matches aggressively. In her three matches this spring, Goldfeld had fallen behind early in two of them, but was able to come back and win the match, something that Ashworth commended, but encouraged Goldfeld not to let happen any longer. In singles play Saturday, Goldfeld responded by dominating Hoch, 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 3 position, setting the tone for the Blue Devils.
Jodoin cruised through the first set against Rabot, 6-2, and closed the match by breaking serve with an outstanding lob to claim the second set, 6-1, at No. 6. Turewicz rushed out to a 4-1 lead in the first set, and continued her great play to easily dispatch of Tripolskay, 6-2, 6-1, to clinch the match. On court four, Mulholland traded games with Burich early on to level the match 2-2, before finding her rhythm and only dropping one more game in a quick victory, 6-3, 6-0.
In the top-spot, 10th-ranked Mar came out with energy and broke serve twice to take a 4-1 lead against Berner, en route to a 6-1 win in the first set. Mar continued her solid play in the second, with a number of outstanding defensive plays to keep points alive and forcing Berner into errors.
While Mar topped Berner, 6-1, 6-3, Clayton, ranked No. 53 in the ITA poll, dropped her first set, 3-6, to Chypyha, but was able to break serve in the second set to take an early 3-0 lead. Chypyha battled back, eventually pushing the set into a tie breaker, where Clayton edged Chypyha, 7-5, to claim the second set. Due to time constraints, the match with Clayton and Chypyha was left unfinished.
"[Before the match] we talked about playing with a purpose, I mean it is the same stuff as always, and playing disciplined," Ashworth said. "I thought we did a good job with our decision making and that is something that we talked about. We have to be smarter when we play. We also want to play with energy, I said trust that your teammates are going to do the same thing and believe that your teammates are going to do the same thing, but with six matches going on, when you win a point, I want to hear you four courts away, so I thought at the beginning we definitely did a good job with that."
The Blue Devils take to the court Sunday in the championship match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend against the winner of the College of Charleston and Wyoming match. The championship is slated to begin at 4:00 p.m. at Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
Tennis Match Results
Wisconsin vs. Duke Jan 26, 2013 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center) #3 Duke 6, #74 Wisconsin 0