BLACKSBURG, Va. – The top-ranked Duke women’s tennis team defeated No. 55 Virginia Tech, 5-2, Saturday, March 8, in Blacksburg, Va. The Blue Devils improved to 12-1 overall and 4-1 against conference foes while the Hokies fell to 9-5 and 2-3 in conference play.
The Blue Devils asserted themselves in doubles action, securing the doubles point and setting the tone for the remainder of the contest.
The tandem of freshman Alyssa Smith and senior Marianne Jodoin extended its winning streak to five matches after upending Virginia Tech’s team of Tea Ivanovic and Isel Martinez-Marcos, 8-3. The Blue Devil duo remained in control throughout the match, leading 7-2 before closing out the match at 8-3. With the win, Smith and Jodoin improved to 10-1, becoming the first Duke doubles pair to reach double-digit wins this season.
After falling behind, 5-4, to Virginia Tech’s doubles team of Carol Kahoun and Raluca Mita on court two, Duke’s 27th-ranked pair of Ester Goldfeld and Annie Mulholland responded admirably, tying the match at 6-6 before earning the doubles point for Duke with an 8-6 victory.
The No. 4 pair of senior Hanna Mar and sophomore Beatrice Capra jumped out to an early 4-1 lead over Virginia Tech’s duo of Ilinca Stoica and Kelly Williford on court one. Stoica and Williford fought back, however, winning six of the next seven games to take a 7-5 lead. The match was abandoned at 7-5.
After securing the doubles point and taking a 1-0 lead, Duke followed with strong play in singles action.
Senior Rachel Kahan led the Blue Devils off the court in singles, defeating Virginia Tech’s Raluca Mita, 6-4, 6-0, at the No. 4 position. Kahan trailed early in the first set, 2-3, however the Unionville, Conn., native caught her stride, tying the match at 3-3 before taking a 5-3 lead. After surrendering an additional game to Mita, Kahan closed the first set, 6-4. Kahan cruised in the second set, not dropping a game. Kahan moved to 7-4 overall this season with the victory.
The 92nd-ranked Smith earned the third point of the match for the Blue Devils after defeating Martinez-Marco, 6-4, 6-2. Similar to Kahan, Smith trailed early in her match, down 2-3. After tying the match at 3-3, both Smith and Martinez-Marco traded games, bringing the first set to 4-4. Smith won two consecutive games to take the first set. Smith carried her momentum over into the second set, taking a 4-1 lead through five games and winning the second set, 6-2. Smith improved to 17-6 on the season and currently leads the Blue Devils with a five-match win streak.
Jodoin clinched her 17th victory of the season with a 6-2, 7-6 (8) win over Virginia Tech’s Carol Kahoun on court six. Jodoin fell behind early, losing two of the first three games before winning five consecutive games to take the first set. Jodoin displayed her resilience, outlasting Kahoun in a lengthy second set. Jodoin earned her fourth win at the No. 6 position this season.
On court two, 44th-ranked Mar once again demonstrated her ability to battle back following early deficits, defeating Virginia Tech’s Williford, 6-7, 7-6, 1-0 (5) on court two. After opening the first set down 1-4, Mar worked to tie the set, 6-6. Although dropping the first set, 6-7, Mar responded with a 7-6 second set, forcing a tiebreak. Mar won the match in the tiebreak, remaining undefeated at the No. 2 position this season and improving to 15-8 overall.
Second-ranked Capra fell to Virginia Tech’s Stoica, 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7). Capra opened with a 6-3 first-set victory before dropping the second set, 3-6. Capra was unable to pull out the tiebreak, recording just her sixth loss of the season.
Mulholland dropped a hard-fought contest on court five, falling to Virginia Tech’s Sansita Nandakumar, 7-5, 7-5. The two singles players exchanged the lead numerous times during each set. Mulholland led 5-4 in the first set before Nandakumar strung together three consecutive games. In the second set, Mulholland led, 3-2, before Nandakumar won two straight games to take a 3-4 lead. Nandakumar closed out the second set, 7-5. The loss marks Mulholland’s first defeat at the No.5 position this season.
Duke resumes action tomorrow, taking on No. 46 Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., at 12 p.m.
1. Ilinca Stoica (VT) def. Beatrice Capra (DU) – 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (7)
2. Hanna Mar (DU) def. Kelly Williford (VT) – 6-7, 7-6, 1-0 (5)
3. Alyssa Smith (DU) def. Isel Martinez-Marco (VT) – 6-4, 6-2
4. Rachel Kahan (DU) def. Raluca Mita (VT) – 6-4, 6-0
5. Sansita Nandakumar (VT) def. Annie Mulholland (DU) – 7-5, 7-5
6. Marianne Jodoin (DU) def. Carol Kahoun (VT) – 6-2, 7-6 (8)
1. Ilinca Stoica/Kelly Williford (VT) vs. Hanna Mar/Beatrice Capra (DU) – DNF
2. Ester Goldfeld/Annie Mulholland (DU) def. Carol Kahoun/Raluca Mita (VT) - 8-6
3. Alyssa Smith/Marianne Jodoin (DU) def. Tea Ivanovic/Isel Martinez-Marcos (VT) 8-3
Order of finish – 3, 2