DURHAM, N.C. – No.3 Duke defeated William & Mary 7-0 in its season opener Friday night in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. Playing in front of a large crowd, the Blue Devils home opener resulted in a convincing win against the Tribe for the second consecutive year.
“I thought it was an amazing atmosphere,” said freshman Beatrice Capra. “I loved having all the people come out.”
Head coach Jamie Ashworth also took some positives away from the dual match opener.
“One of the biggest things that we talked about, with doubles and singles, was getting off to good starts,” said Ashworth. “During doubles, I looked down and we were up 3-0 on every court, so looking at that 9-0 [lead], it puts the other team in such a hole. It puts so much pressure on the other team if we can do that.”
Opening the evening in doubles play, junior Mary Clayton and freshman Ester Goldfeld won a hard-fought match against Jeltje Loomans and Maria Belaya, 8-6, in the No. 1 spot. After Clayton and Goldfeld jumped ahead 4-0 in the early going, the Tribe duo fought back, taking three consecutive games to bring the match within one. However, Clayton and Goldfeld did not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the match and held on for the victory
In No. 2 doubles, Capra and sophomore Rachel Kahan surged to a 5-0 lead against the Tribe’s Anik Cepeda and Hope Johnson, before dropping the next three games. Leading 5-3, the duo remained poised and closed out the match strong to claim an 8-4 win.
Freshman Monica Turewicz and sophomore Hanna Mar cruised to an 8-2 victory against Katie Kargl and Marlen Mesgarzadeh in the No. 3 doubles match.
In singles action, seventh-ranked Capra won in dominating fashion, 6-1, 6-1, against Loomans in the No. 1 spot. After clinching the doubles point with Kahan, Capra’s singles win also clinched the match for the Blue Devils.
In the No. 2 spot, Goldfeld faced-off against Mesgarzadeh. Tied 3-3 in the first set, Goldfeld hung tough and went on to win the first set, 6-4. After jumping ahead 5-2 in the second set, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native won a long final point to pick up the 6-2 second set win.
Mar, ranked 38th in the country, had no problem handling Belaya in the No. 3 singles spot, easily winning, 6-0, 6-0. In the No. 4 spot, Clayton defeated Cepeda, 7-6, 6-3.
Kahan defeated Hope Johnson, 6-4, 6-2, in the No. 5 singles spot, while freshman and 35th-ranked Turewicz picked up her first career dual-match victory in a 6-1, 6-2 win against Nina Vulovich from the No. 6 spot.
Duke extended its lead in the all-time series to 22-6, which includes victories in each of the last four meetings.
Heading into Duke’s next match, Ashworth still has some things he would like the team to improve upon.
“We’re going to talk about valuing our service games a little bit – valuing points,” Ashworth said. “We did a really good job of getting up in those doubles and up in the singles matches, but then we let some people hang around, and we can’t do that. When we play good teams, you may only get one or two opportunities to end a game, end points [and] end sets, so you’ve got to take advantage of that, and that’s something we have to do a better job of.”