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Zawacki, Arasu open with victories

The women’s tennis team opened its season this past weekend in Wilmington, N.C., where the Blue Devils battled their way through a rain-delayed tournament. Senior Saras Arasu and sophomore Tori Zawacki each took first place in their separate singles draws. The pair took third place as a doubles team.

Arasu, who had not played a competitive match since last spring’s NCAA Tournament, showed no signs of being out of form as she easily handled her first opponent 6-1, 6-0. Arasu was tested in her second match, against North Carolina’s Charlotte Tansill. After Tansill won the first set, play was suspended due to weather conditions. Arasu opened the next day strong, however, rebounding to force a super-tie-breaker and capture the win.

Zawacki, who changed her forehand swing over the summer, was also playing the tournament to get adjusted to match competition again. The Blue Devil routed her Eastern Carolina opponent 6-2, 6-2 Friday in the first of her three matches. Saturday the clay courts and constant rainfall slowed the pace of the match, lending a small advantage to her N.C. State opponent’s style of play. But Zawacki showed the power of her new forehand with a 6-3, 6-4 win and subsequently won her third match over North Carolina’s Alex Jurewicz.

“The conditions and level of play were tough in the second round, but both gained a lot of confidence [from their play],” assistant coach Adam Gusky said.

The duo, which usually does not play together, did not fare as well in doubles competition. The Blue Devil pair won its first match against UNC-Greensboro, 8-3, but was not able to keep the momentum going. Facing N.C State, the Duke pair took a 4-1 lead. The Wolfpack team rallied back, but still trailed by one point, 7-6, eventually pushing the match to a tie-breaker.

“[Saras and Zawacki] had a lot of opportunities to win, but they could not shut the door,” Gusky said.