Squeezed between a tough week in Hawaii, which included victories over Notre Dame and Tennessee, and a big home matchup with No. 7 North Carolina Sunday, the No. 5 Duke women's tennis team cruised to a 7-0 win over Yale yesterday afternoon in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
"We didn't play great, but we competed well, and that was the reason we scheduled this match coming back from Hawaii with our UNC match coming up on Sunday," head coach Jamie Ashworth said. "We needed a match where I knew that we were going to be more talented than the other team, but we needed to compete well. That was the exact reason why we played this match."
Despite losing the No. 1 match, Duke was able to capture the doubles point with Amanda Johnson and Saras Arasu winning at No. 2 and Kristin Cargill and Jenny Zika winning at No. 3.
This was the third match for Tory Zawacki and Julia Smith playing together at No. 1 doubles. The pair fell to Yale twins Ashley and Karlyn Martin 9-7.
"They didn't play great," Ashworth said. "We played really well our last two matches in doubles."
Johnson and Arasu fought to a 9-8 victory over Aimee Kim and Rashmee Patil in a match that was close throughout. The No. 3 match was an easy 8-2 win for Duke's Cargill and Zika.
After winning the doubles point, Duke swept the singles matches with dominating showings in three of the matches and gritty performances in the others.
At No. 1, Amanda Johnson, ranked fifth nationally, came out with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Karlyn Martin.
With each player's seven-match singles win streak on the line, Zawacki and Zika were able to come out on top in two hard-fought matches.
Zika, at No. 2 singles, had to overcome an early lead by Yale's Christine Alford to come out with the 6-2, 6-2 win.
"[It was hard] especially when I was down at the beginning," Zika said. "It wasn't very good to start. She played a really hard topspin [so] it took some time and then it was totally fine."
Although she was able to win in two sets, Zawacki had to overcome a deficit in both to secure the victory. The final score was 6-4, 7-6 in her No. 3 match.
"The playing is going to come; I'm not worried about the playing," Ashworth said about Zawacki. "I knew we wouldn't hit the ball great, and she's a perfect example of that today. She didn't hit the ball well, but she completed well enough to win."
Smith and Cargill recorded solid wins at four and five, respectively. Parker Goyer made her Duke dual meet debut with a lengthy No. 6 singles 7-5, 6-4 win over Kim to end the afternoon's play.
"It was a pretty hard match, especially since I haven't played one in two months," Goyer said. "Once I got into the match, I started playing well. The first set she was always ahead and coming back from being down set point and eventually winning the set [was hard]. She hit a lot of high balls and didn't make many errors."
With the Bulldogs easily out of the way, the Blue Devils are looking to Sunday's match with the Tar Heels. The rivals' last meeting came last season when Duke defeated UNC 4-2 to win the 2003 ACC Championship. This time around, Johnson will face UNC junior Aniela Mojzis, ranked No. 16 nationally in singles. In the ACC Tournament, Mojzis posted UNC's only singles win with a victory over Arasu. The Tar Heels are coming off a home loss Monday to the No. 3 Florida Gators.
"We're both ranked in the top eight in the country so it's going to be a good match for both teams," Ashworth said. "Win or lose, it's a big match, and obviously we hope to win. We've done a really good job protecting our home court, and hopefully we'll be able to keep doing that."
Sunday's North Carolina match kicks off the ACC schedule for Duke, which is riding a 22-game home win streak.
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