DURHAM, N.C.— The 10th-ranked Duke women’s tennis team continued its excellent play on Saturday evening in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center as the Blue Devils registered a 4-0 blanking of 42nd-ranked Kentucky in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kickoff.
“I thought we competed well,” said Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We definitely have to do a better job of our expectations when we walk out on the court. It is a learning process. We have to throw out our No. 10 ranking or whatever it is and whenever we play people they are going to play their best against us. I don’t think we handled that today as well as we could have.”
In doubles action, the Blue Devils started strong on court one as Duke’s Beatrice Capra and Hanna Mar took a 3-0 advantage before 56th-ranked CeCe Witten and Kelsey Dieters of Kentucky stormed back to cut the Duke lead to 3-2. Capra and Mar went on to win three straight games to take the first set, 6-2.
“I liked the fact that we competed for points and fought for points, especially, at the end there,” commented Ashworth. “When you get in those 10-point tiebreaker situations, it is kind of a crapshoot. It can go any way and obviously we were trying to avoid as much as we can. So to have Marianne win that last set there in straight sets you could kind of feel the energy rejuvenate throughout the team.”
On court three, Kentucky’s Kirsten Lewis and Stephanie Fox opened the match with a 2-0 lead over Duke’s Marianne Jodoin and Alyssa Smith. The Blue Devil tandem came back to win four straight points to take a 4-2 advantage. Duke went on to claim the 6-4 win and notched the doubles point for the Blue Devils. Jodoin and Smith improved to 7-1 on the season paired together.
Jodoin, who is a product of Varennes, Quebec, cruised to a 6-0 win in the first set against Taylor Lederman. In the second set, Lederman jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Jodoin bounced back to even the score a 4-4. Lederman won the next point to take a 5-4 lead, but Jodoin broke Lederman to even the ledger at 5-5 and went on to win the next two points to give Duke a 2-0 lead in the match.
A rookie out of Laguna Niguel, Calif., Smith improved to 3-0 in dual match action with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Caitlin McGraw.
The reigning two-time ACC Player of the Week, 45th-ranked Ester Goldfeld dropped the first set to Dieters, 6-3, but battled back to win the second set, 6-1, and claim the third set tiebreaker, 10-5, on her way to clinching the 4-0 victory for Duke.
In other action, third-ranked Capra was leading 108th-ranked Nadia Ravita, 6-1, 3-5, 49th-ranked Mar held a 6-2, 5-4 lead over Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff and Rachel Kahan was leading 4-2 in the second set, after falling, 6-4 in the first.
Tulane will close the action in Durham, N.C., for the ITA Kickoff on Sunday, Jan. 26 with Tulane facing Columbia at 9:00 a.m.
By defeating Kentucky on Saturday, the Blue Devils advance to the National Team Indoors Feb. 7-10 in Charlottesville, Va. Duke will next host Furman on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 11:00 a.m., in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.