HONOLULU – No. 7 Duke opened the dual match season with a 6-1 win over Hawai’i on Saturday. The Blue Devils swept doubles and won five out of six singles matches to claim their first win of the 2011 season.
Duke’s senior leadership led it in the singles competition claiming all of its matches in consecutive sets. Reka Zsilinszka, the No. 4-ranked singles player in the country, won her opening match of the year by a score of 6-2, 6-1, over Magadalena Ploch of Hawai’i. Senior transfer Nadine Fahoum grabbed her 99th career win over Barbara Pinterova by a score of 6-4, 6-4, while teammate Elizabeth Plotkin grabbed her first win of the season over Natasha Zorec 6-3, 7-5.
“I thought we competed well and I thought we didn’t hit the ball well considering this was the first matches for some of the girls in eight weeks,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “We are glad to grab the first win of the season. It was good for everyone to get the first matches out of the way and it gives us some things to work on in the two weeks before we play at home against William and Mary.”
Freshman Hanna Mar kept her strong singles play going from the fall season when she went 11-3 to grab her first dual match win of her career over Alyssa Nafarrete 6-3, 6-0. Junior Monica Gorny picked up the final points for the Blue Devils to take the dual match victory. Gorny grabbed the win by a score of 6-2, 6-3, over Aglae Van den Bergh.
In doubles action Duke won all three matches, with the No. 4 duo of Ellah Nze and Fahoum getting off on the right foot with an 8-6 win to open the season over Pintrova and Katarina Poljakova, while the No. 39 ranked tandem of Mary Clayton and Gorny grabbed the 8-2 win over Nafarrete and Ploch.
Duke’s two freshmen Hanna Mar and Rachel Kahan teamed up for their first dual match doubles win of the season. The Blue Devil duo grabbed the final points in doubles with an 8-4 win over Zorec and Van den Bergh.
“Rachel and Hanna played well together even though Rachel didn’t play much this fall. They seemed a little nervous representing Duke for the first time and they overcame it and got the job done and picked up the win,” Ashworth said.