MADISON, Wisc. – Few things in sport are as exciting as a collegiate tennis dual match that boils down to a result on a single court.
On Saturday in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 ITA Division I National Women’s Team Indoor Championship at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, Duke’s Kelly Chen recognized all eyes were on her as she took on Georgia’s Marta Gonzalez at No. 3 singles with the teams’ match knotted 3-3.
After winning the first set 6-4, Chen battled back from 5-6 to force a second set tiebreak. Feeding off the energy of her teammates, the freshman from Cerritos, California, caught fire with her service game, booming a staggering four aces that propelled her to a 7-1 victory in the tiebreak and set off a wild celebration, as the No. 7 Blue Devils outlasted the No. 2 Bulldogs 4-3.
“I was a bit nervous, but with my teammates and coaches there and their support, I was able to come through,” said Chen.
The Blue Devils erased the 1-0 deficit from doubles with victories from Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy at No. 4 and No. 2 singles, respectively. Georgia would respond with a pair of singles win of its own, as Mariana Gould (No. 6 singles) and Katarina Jokic (No. 1 singles) scored straight set victories to push the Bulldogs within a point of victory. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as Duke’s Meible Chi evened the match at 3-3 with her win at No. 5 singles, setting the stage for Chen’s dramatic win at No. 3 singles.
With the win, Duke advances to Sunday’s semifinal round, where they will see a familiar face in rival North Carolina.
The No. 3 Tar Heels were the first team to secure their spot in the National Team Indoor Championship semifinals, taking down the No. 6 Texas Tech Red Raiders 4-1. After taking the doubles point, North Carolina went up 2-0 following Alexa Graham’s 6-0, 6-1 win over Sarah Dvorak at No. 5 singles. Gabriela Talaba moved Texas Tech back within a point as she bested Alle Sanford in straight sets at No. 1 singles 6-3, 6-4.
The Tar Heels put the match away on singles courts four and three, with Jessie Aney earning a 7-5, 6-3 victory against Alex Valenstein and for the second straight day, Sara Daavettila secured the team’s match-clinching point, as she scored a 6-3, 6-4 decision against Sabrina Federici.
Vanderbilt, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, dispatched of SEC rival and defending National Team Indoor Champion Florida 4-0 in the quarterfinals. Fernanda Contreras, the 2017 Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American singles champion, secured the match-clinching point for the Commodores, as she topped Josie Kuhlman 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2 singles.
After taking a 1-0 lead in doubles, Vanderbilt pushed its lead to 2-0 with Amanda Meyer’s 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 6 singles. Christina Rosca moved the Commodores within a point of securing the contest following a 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles.
Facing the Commodores in the semifinals are the No. 4 Waves of Pepperdine, who slipped past No. 5 Georgia Tech 4-2.
Ashley Lahey rebounded from a tough opening set against Paige Hourigan to win a hard-fought three-set match 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 at No. 1 singles, which proved to be the match-clinching point for the Waves.
“It’s probably one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced; it’s amazing,” said Lahey of being mobbed by her teammates following her victory. “You never get to feel that in junior or pro tennis. It’s something special and we should cherish it while we’re here in college.”
For updated draws, results, live scoring and video, daily video highlights and photo galleries, head to the ITA Division I National Women’s Team Indoor Championship event page. On social media, be sure to follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtag #ITAIndoors to join the conversation. Intercollegiate Tennis Association is proud to work with allies Tennis-Ticker on live scoring and PlaySight for live streaming.
#ITAIndoors Quarterfinal Results
No. 7 Duke def. No. 2 Georgia 4-3
No. 3 North Carolina def. No. 6 Texas Tech 4-1
No. 4 Pepperdine def. No. 5 Georgia Tech 4-2
No. 1 Vanderbilt def. No. 8 Florida 4-0