INDIAN WELLS, CALIF. – Senior Samantha Harris will represent the Duke women’s tennis team in the ITA Fall Nationals Final after a semifinal victory on Saturday.
Harris has been one of the best players in the country over the past month. The Melbourne, Australia native beat two ranked opponents, including the third-ranked player in the nation, just to reach the semifinals, Harris added another ranked win on Saturday. Harris’ opponent, Texas 24th-ranked Bianca Turati, had not dropped a set in the tournament entering the semis, but Harris took two straight to claim a 6-4, 6-3 victory. Harris reaches the final for the second straight tournament after doing so in the ITA Carolina Regional Championships and has now won 11 of her last 12 matches.
Harris had a chance to reach a second final as she had partnered with freshman Kelly Chen to reach the doubles semifinals. That was as far as the Duke tandem got though, as Harris and Chen bowed out against Stanford’s Michaela Gordon and Emily Arbuthnott 6-1, 7-5.
Senior Rebecca Smaller, sophomore Meible Chi, and freshman Ema Lazic were also in action on Saturday. Playing for the first time together, Smaller and Chi cruised to an 8-4 win over South Carolina’s Ingrid Gamarra Martins and Paige Cline. All three came out on top of their singles matches. Chi beat Gabby O’ Gorman of Penn State in a third set tiebreaker 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-7). Smaller and Lazic both needed only two sets to close out their matches as Smaller beat Maria Homez of East Carolina 6-2, 6-3 and Lazic knocked off Kansas State’s Meghan King 6-0, 6-1.
Harris will try to win her first championship of the fall on Sunday. To do so, she will need to beat Florida International’s 29th-ranked Andrea Lazaro. Smaller, Chi, and Lazic will all play in the finals singles match of the Kitty Harrison Invitational at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.
ITA Fall Nationals Results
Round of 64
#54 Samantha Harris (Duke) def. Anna Bright (California) 6-0, 6-0
#57 Kaitlyn McCarthy (Duke) def. Linda Huang (Colorado) 6-0, 6-1
Michaela Gordon (Stanford) def. Kelly Chen (Duke) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
Round of 16
#54 Samantha Harris (Duke) def. Julia O’Loughlin (Denver) 6-4, 6-4
#54 Samantha Harris (Duke) def. #3 Ashley Lahey (Pepperdine) 6-3, 6-3
#54 Samantha Harris (Duke) def. #24 Bianca Turati (Texas) 6-4, 6-3
Consolation Round of 32
Kelly Chen (Duke) def. #47 Christina Rosca (Vanderbilt) 7-5, 6-1
Consolation Round of 16
Kelly Chen def. #60 Taylor Russo (Auburn) 6-4, 6-4
#38 Gabriela Knutson (Syracuse) def. Kelly Chen (Duke) 6-4, 6-4
Round of 32
Mariana Gould/Katarina Jokic (Georgia) def. #25 Kaitlyn McCarthy/Ellyse Hamlin (Duke) 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-8)
#60 Samantha Harris/Kelly Chen (Duke) def. Erin Larner/Madeline Lipp (Northwestern) 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7)
Kitty Harrison Results
#20 Meible Chi (Duke) def. Gabby O’Gorman (Penn State) 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-7)
Rebecca Smaller (Duke) def. Maria Homez (East Carolina) 6-2, 6-3
Ema Lazic (Duke) def. Meghan King (Kansas State) 6-0, 6-1