May 15, 2010

Courtesy of Duke

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-Duke University senior Amanda Granson captured her team-best 31st victory of the year today to clinch at 4-1 victory over Virginia for the 10th-seeded Blue Devils in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament. With the win, Duke advances to the round of 16 for the third consecutive season.

The Blue Devils improve to 21-7 overall and capture their 45th all-time NCAA Tournament victory. Under head coach Jamie Ashworth, Duke is 34-12 in NCAA postseason action.

"We played a pretty clean match today," Ashworth said. "I think the biggest thing for us today was being able to get the doubles point easily. And for the first time in a while I think we believed everyone would win."

For the third straight match Duke came out and garnered the crucial doubles point. The pair of senior Elizabeth Plotkin and junior Reka Zsilinszka got up early and never looked back, easing its way to an 8-2 victory at the No. 3 slot. The win was the duo's eighth straight victory and 18th in dual matches this season. Plotkin and Zsilinszka last lost on April 2 against Virginia Tech. Duke's 32nd-ranked tandem of Granson and junior Ellah Nze provided the clinching victory with an 8-3 triumph at No. 1.

Duke freshman Mary Clayton quickly made it a 2-0 Blue Devil lead with a dominating 6-2, 6-0 win over Maria Fucillo at the No. 6 spot. She improves to 20-6 in dual matches, joining Granson in the 20-win group.

"I feel like I am playing really well and I'm gaining a lot of momentum from the start," Clayton said. "Efficiency has been the key for me. I've been thinking, what is the easiest and most efficient way for me to get off the court with a win and I know that if I can get off the court with a win then it will really help the team's momentum."

After Virginia garnered a win on court two to make it a 2-1 match, Nze closed out her match on court one with a 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 57 Lindsey Hardenbergh. Ranked 47th overall, Nze avenged her three-set loss to Hardenbergh during the regular season to post her 15th win this year.

"Ellah getting out to a clean lead was huge for us," Ashworth said. "When people saw Ellah's score I think that gave us a big lift."

Moments later, Granson clinched for the team-best sixth time this season as she battled to a 6-3, 6-4 victory from the No. 4 spot. She is 31-9 overall in 2009-10 and 20-6 in dual matches. Her 31 victories is a career single-season high and marks the 47th time a Duke player has reached the 30-win mark in a season.

The Blue Devils will play again on May 20 at 12 p.m., at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia. Duke will play No. 7 seed UCLA, which defeated Arizona State 4-0 in its second round match.

#10 Duke 4, #27 Virginia 1
May 15, 2010 at Charlottesville, Va. (Snyder Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #47 Ellah Nze (DU) def. #57 Lindsey Hardenbergh (UVA) 6-2, 6-3
2. Emily Fraser (UVA) def. #81 Elizabeth Plotkin (DU) 6-2, 6-3
3. Erin Vierra (UVA) vs. #34 Reka Zsilinszka (DU) 7-5, 0-1, unfinished
4. Amanda Granson (DU) def. Hana Tomljanovic (UVA) 6-3, 6-4
5. Katie Gater (UVA) vs. Monica Gorny (DU) 6-3, 3-6, 2-2, unfinished
6. Mary Clayton (DU) def. Maria Fuccillo (UVA) 6-2, 6-0

Doubles competition
1. #32 Ellah Nze/Amanda Granson (DU) def. Hana Tomljanovic/Katie Gater (UVA) 8-3
2. Emily Fraser/Erin Vierra (UVA) vs. #38 Monica Gorny/Mary Clayton (DU) 5-3, unfinished
3. #73 Elizabeth Plotkin/Reka Zsilinszka (DU) def. Lindsey Hardenbergh/Maria Fuccillo (UVA) 8-2