CARY, N.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference final will come down to a neighborhood battle as top-seeded Duke and second-seeded North Carolina both advanced with semifinal wins on Saturday.
Duke (24-2) reached the title match by blanking fifth-seeded Virginia 4-0 in Saturday morning’s semifinal, while UNC (22-5) survived a grueling test from No. 6 Georgia Tech and advanced with a 4-3 victory.
Beatrice Capra and Rachel Kahan came up big for Duke on Saturday, teaming up for a win to help the Blue Devils take the doubles point, and then scoring wins at No. 1 and No. 3 singles, respectively. Kahan’s 6-2, 6-3 win against Hana Tomlijanvoic provided the clinching point. Hanna Mar picked up Duke’s other point with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Li Xi at No. 4.
The Blue Devils have now shutout nine of the 13 ACC opponents they have faced this season and are 21-0 when winning the doubles point.
For the third time this season, North Carolina and Georgia Tech pushed it to the limit. The Tar Heels also posted a 4-3 win in the regular-season ACC meeting between the teams on March 30 and claimed a 4-2 win in the ITA National Indoors at Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 11.
The Tar Heels spotted the Yellow Jackets the doubles point on Saturday, but fought back by winning four matches in singles play. All six singles matches were decided in straight sets, including UNC’s Zoe DeBruycker’s 6-4, 6-4 win against Caroline Lilley on the No. 2 court that sealed the match.
Shinnann Featherston (No. 3), Caroline Price (No. 4) and Tessa Lyons (No. 6) were the other winners for the Tar Heels. Georgia Tech saw Jillian O’Neill top UNC’s Lauren McHale in a matchup of All-ACC players on the No. 1 court, and also saw Jasmine Minor win at No. 5.
Sunday’s championship match will be the second in 11 days between the Blue Devils and Tar Heels. Duke blanked UNC by a 4-0 score in Durham on April 12 in a showdown for first place in the ACC standings. The loss was the only one UNC suffered in ACC play during the regular season, and Duke rode the momentum to two more wins last weekend to finish 11-0 in conference play.