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WTEN: No.1 Duke outlasts No.11 Northwestern, 5-2

Posted March 27, 2014

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— The top-ranked Duke women’s tennis team extended its winning streak to eight matches after defeating No. 11 Northwestern, 5-2, Wednesday, March 26, in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center in Durham, N.C.

“I thought in doubles we did a really good job of coming out with energy,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. Usually Northwestern has really good doubles, and I was concerned all week with making sure that we played clean, crisp doubles. I thought we did that. We got off to big leads on courts one and two. That was some of the best doubles points we’ve played all year. That carried over to singles. I told them after doubles, ‘we don’t want to give Northwestern any type of momentum to feed off of, because usually they’re a high-energy team.’ It was really important for us to get off to good starts in the games and sets in singles play to not let them in the match at all.”

The Blue Devils (16-1, 6-1 ACC) saw strong doubles play on courts one and two, securing 8-2 victories on each court as Duke earned the doubles point over Northwestern (9-5, 3-0 BIG 10).

The No. 6 pair of senior Hanna Mar and sophomore Beatrice Capra led the Blue Devils off the court in doubles action, defeating Northwestern’s No. 21 duo of Veronica Corning and Alicia Barnett, 8-2. After falling behind, 0-1, Mar and Capra won six consecutive matches, taking a 6-1 lead over the Wildcat tandem. Mar and Capra dropped one additional game before closing out the match, 8-2. Mar and Capra improved to 9-5 on the season while notching their seventh victory over a ranked opponent this season.

On court two, the No. 24 team of junior Ester Goldfeld and freshman Alyssa Smith upended Northwestern’s Manon Peri and Nida Hamilton, 8-2. The Duke pair saw an advantage early in the match, taking a 2-1 lead over Peri and Hamilton. Goldfeld and Smith remained in control throughout the contest, taking a 7-1 lead into the penultimate game. After Peri and Hamilton brought the match to 7-2, Goldfeld and Smith served out to secure the doubles point for the Blue Devils. Goldfeld and Smith remain unbeaten in their last four doubles matches and sit at 6-1 on the season.

The team of junior Annie Mulholland and freshman Chalena Scholl trailed Northwestern’s Maddie Lipp and Belinda Nui, 4-5, on court three, before the match was abandoned. The match marked the fifth time this season Mulholland and Scholl played as a doubles team.

The singles points proved hotly contested, with super tiebreakers played out on courts three, four and five. Ultimately, the Blue Devils clinched the match after securing three of the singles points.

Jodoin improved to 21-7 on the season after routing Jillian Rooney, 6-3, 6-0, at the No. 6 position. Jodoin trailed early, 1-3, before winning five consecutive games to take the first set, 6-3. Jodoin caught her rhythm in the second set, not surrendering a game en route to a 6-0 second-set victory. The Varennes, Quebec, native owns a 7-2 record at the No. 6 position and brought her career record to 106-39.

Goldfeld, the 24th-ranked singles player, won on court two, 6-4, 6-3, to bring the Blue Devils to within a point of the victory. After Goldfeld took a 5-1 lead, Northwestern’s 36th-ranked Belinda Niu battled back to within a game at 5-4. With the serve, Goldfeld closed out the first set, winning 6-4. In the second set, Goldfeld and Niu exchanged serves before Goldfeld brought the match to 4-2. Gold and Niu traded games before the Brooklyn, N.Y., native won the second set, 6-3. Goldfeld currently owns a 22-7 overall record and a 9-2 mark against nationally ranked opponents.

On court one, fifth-ranked Capra clinched the victory for the Blue Devils, taking the match, 6-3, 6-2. Capra trailed Northwestern’s No. 44 Veronica Corning, 1-3, before winning five straight games to take the first set, 6-3. In the second set, Capra took an early 3-2 advantage and never relinquished the lead on her way to a 6-2 second-set victory.

Senior Rachel Kahan dropped her match against Northwestern’s Manon Peri on court 4, 6-3, 6-7 (8-6), 0-1 (8-10). Kahan took control of the match early, jumping out to a 3-1 lead and securing the first set, 6-3. In the second set, neither Kahan nor Peri could gain an advantage, with six ties throughout the set. Peri took the second-set tiebreak, 8-6, forcing a match-deciding super tiebreak. Peri, serving at 8-8, won the point and brought the tiebreak to 8-9. Kahan, serving, was unable to tie the tiebreak, with Peri earning the victory on court four.

The 89th-ranked Smith made a valiant effort on court five before falling to Lok Sze Leung, 5-7, 6-3, 0-1 (6-10). After dropping the first set, Smith rallied to win the second set, 6-3. In the second set, Smith brought the match to 3-3 before winning three straight games. In the tiebreak, Smith was unable to make up an early deficit, falling, 10-6.

Mar remained undefeated at the No. 3 position, defeating Alicia Barnett, 6-7 (9-11), 6-3, 1-0 (10-8). The match between Mar and Barnett remained close throughout, with the first set running to a tiebreak and the match requiring a super tiebreak. Mar, winning the super tiebreak, 10-8, owns an 8-0 record at the No. 3 position.

The Blue Devils return to competition Friday, traveling to College Park, Md., to face Maryland. The match is set for 3 p.m.

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