Last year, Duke suffered an upset loss in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament, giving most of its team motivation to at last make it to the weekend this season.

Led by strong finishes in long three-set matches in singles to build on an impressive finish to the doubles point that went the distance, the Blue Devils will find themselves in the semifinals for the first time since 2014.

No. 53 Chalena Scholl defeated Fernanda Navarro 6-2 in the third set on Court 3 and No. 99 Kaitlyn McCarthy outlasted Sydney Riley 6-1 in the final frame on Court 4 to give No. 12 Duke the 4-1 victory against Clemson at the Rome Tennis Center in Rome, Ga., Friday.

“Kaitlyn and Chalena both played well in the third sets. They played smart third sets. Kaitlyn did a good job changing what she was doing,” Blue Devil head coach Jamie Ashworth told GoDuke.com. “Chalena just got off to a better start in the third set. That was huge for her to go up 2-0 after losing the second set.”

After jumping out to the early lead in the third set, Scholl dropped two of the next three games to open the door for Navarro for a comeback. However, using her experience and poise, Scholl won the next four games to put the Blue Devils (20-4) ahead 3-1 with a 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 victory. The senior now boasts a 6-1 record in ACC tournament play in her career and will hope to build on the performance tomorrow.

McCarthy, who has now compiled an 18-match winning streak and dominant 21-1 record in dual matches, clinched the match with a dominant third set for a 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 win. The sophomore, who has not lost a match since February 10, has been a consistent bright spot for Duke.

To start off the scoring, the No. 55 duo of McCarthy and Meible Chi upset No. 31 Marie Leduc and Ayan Broomfield to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead. After falling behind 2-4 in the tiebreak, the tandem won seven of the last 10 points to pull through with a 7-6 (9-7) victory at the top doubles spot.

McCarthy and Chi finished their match just after Alyssa Smith and Scholl won a dramatic tiebreaker 11-9 to beat Riley and Constanza Gorches 7-6.

“To get the doubles point was big tonight. We played the tiebreakers really well," Ashworth said. "We’re just excited for the chance to play tomorrow."

With a point in hand, Duke turned to the singles portion of the match to add to its total. Things started off promising for the Blue Devils, with four of the six courts taking the first set. Sophomore Ellyse Hamlin was the first to finish, grabbing a dominating 6-3, 6-0 win against Daniela Ruiz on Court 6.

“One of the biggest matches for us was Ellyse. She had lost in straight sets to Ruiz three weeks ago,” Ashworth said. “That win tonight was a big lift for everybody. She was vocal and emotional.”

However, the tides turned, as the Tigers (13-12) rallied to close out Court 1 in straight sets—No. 76 Samantha Harris was upset by Leduc—and grabbed the second set on Courts 3, 4 and 5.

The same Clemson team that put up a formidable bout against Duke in the regular season before faltering 5-2 earlier in the regular season once again showed that it can compete with the upper echelon of the ACC.

In the two unfinished matches, both Blue Devils were leading in the third set. No. 40 Chi led No. 89 Broomfield 5-7, 6-3, 4-1 on Court 2, and Smith held a 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 margin against Constanza Gorches on Court 5.

The Blue Devils will face third-seeded Georgia Tech in the semifinals, hoping to beat the same Yellow Jacket team they defeated last weekend to clinch a share of the ACC regular season title and secure the No. 2 seed for the ACC tournament. The contest against No. 8 Georgia Tech was very close, with Duke squeezing out a 4-3 victory.

"We're familiar with Georgia Tech's players and they’re familiar with ours. We have to come out and be emotional. We have to play with nothing to lose and no fear,” Ashworth said. “That’s what we did last weekend.”