DURHAM, N.C. – Down twice late in the match, junior Hanna Mar was able to battle back both times to win her match in a third-set tiebreaker, leading the seventh-ranked Duke women’s tennis team past No. 27 Virginia, 4-3, Friday at Ambler Tennis Stadium. The Blue Devils move to 12-3 on the season, as well as a perfect 3-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play.
“I thought we played well, even after we lost the doubles point, I told the team that we were playing really well,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We talked after doubles that we had to fight and to compete. We had to force them to hit shots and that is exactly what it came down to. As a whole I thought we competed as well as we could. I was really happy about that.”
In doubles action, Duke dropped the doubles point for just the third time this season after splitting matches on courts one and three. On court one, the 57th-ranked pair of sophomores Annie Mulholland and Ester Goldfeld dropped Erin Vierra and Stephanie Nauta, 8-4, while junior Marianne Jodoin and senior Nicole LIpp dropped a hard fought match to Li Xi and Maria Fuccillo, 8-4. In the second position, the duo of junior Hanna Mar and senior Mary Clayton battled back from a 3-5 deficit to level the match at 5-5, but were unable to slow Julia Elbaba and Hana Tomljanovic, eventually falling 8-5.
After the break, the Cavaliers returned to the courts with momentum, taking leads on all six singles courts. In the fourth position, No. 94 Jodoin claimed her 19th consecutive singles victory after downing Li Xi, 6-2, 6-2, while Lipp fell to Caryssa Peretz, 6-0, 6-0, on court six.
In the third position, Clayton, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recorded her 27th career ACC victory after downing Tomljanovic, 6-4, 6-3. With her 27 conference victories, Clayton sits in fourth on Duke’s all-time list.
On court five, Mulholland fell behind early against Erin Vierra, but won three consecutive games to force the set into a tiebreaker, where Mulholland cruised, 7-2, to claim the set. In the second set, Mulholland overcame a 2-4 deficit to top Vierra, 7-5.
After falling 6-3 in the first set against No. 15 Elbaba, 52nd-ranked Goldfeld battled through the second set to find the match level at 5-5. After breaking serve to take a 6-5 lead, Goldfeld painted the line with a serve in the next game, forcing Elbaba to send the return long, and pushing the match into a third set. In the final set, Elbaba bested Goldfeld, 6-3 to level the match at 3-3.
With the score tied at 3-3, the match turned to court one where Mar and Nauta faced off. Mar dropped the first set, 6-3, to 65th-ranked Nauta, but rallied in the second, 6-1, to force the match into a third and decisive set. In the third set, Nauta took a commanding 5-2 lead, but Mar responded by breaking serve to level the match at 5-5. After trading games, the match went into a third-set tiebreaker where Nauta took a 5-1 lead, but again Mar responded with a number of clutch shots to come back to win the tiebreaker, 8-6, and clinch the match for Duke.
“This is a big match for us and is a big match for us every year,” Clayton said. “I think it will really help us as we move forward to get this win. Being down and then coming back gives us a ton of confidence. It was great to see Hanna fighting off match points in the third and coming back and winning. It just gives us incentive to always keep fighting.”
The Blue Devils return to the courts Saturday at 3 p.m. as they play host to Virginia Tech at Ambler Tennis Stadium.
“Our team knows that we have to do the little things to win,” Ashworth said. “We have talked about that for the past 10 days, and we need to play ever point like it’s the last point. If you don’t win it, that’s fine, but you need to make someone come up with a shot to beat you, and I thought we really kept fighting today.”
Tennis Match Results
Virginia vs Duke
Mar 29, 2013 at Durham, N.C.
(Ambler Tennis Stadium)
#7 Duke 4, #27 Virginia 3
1. #19 Hanna Mar (DUKE) def. #65 Stephanie Nauta (UVA) 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6)
2. #15 Julia Elbaba (UVA) def. #52 Ester Goldfeld (DUKE) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3
3. #99 Mary Clayton (DUKE) def. Hana Tomljanovic (UVA) 6-4, 6-3
4. #94 Marianne Jodoin (DUKE) def. Li Xi (UVA) 6-2, 6-2
5. Annie Mulholland (DUKE) def. Erin Vierra (UVA) 7-6 (7-2), 7-5
6. Caryssa Peretz (UVA) def. Nicole Lipp (DUKE) 6-0, 6-0
1. #57 Annie Mulholland/Ester Goldfeld (DUKE) def. Stephanie Nauta/Erin Vierra (UVA) 8-4
2. Julia Elbaba/Hana Tomljanovic (UVA) def. Hanna Mar/Mary Clayton (DUKE) 8-5
3. Li Xi/Maria Fuccillo (UVA) def. Marianne Jodoin/Nicole Lipp (DUKE) 8-4
Virginia 8-7; National ranking #27
Duke 12-3; National ranking #7
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,4,3,5,2,1)