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Duke women's tennis contingent unable to qualify for All-American Championships main draw

<p>Sophomore Ellyse Hamlin and her teammates were unable to advance to the main draw of&nbsp;the&nbsp;Riviera/ITA All-American Championships this week.</p>

Sophomore Ellyse Hamlin and her teammates were unable to advance to the main draw of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships this week.

Although the Blue Devils’ only freshman continued her strong start to her college career, Duke came up short at the second tournament of its fall campaign.

Senior Chalena Scholl, sophomores Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy and freshman Meible Chi concluded play Wednesday at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Although Chi recorded four of Duke’s nine total wins, none of the Blue Devils were able to advance out of the qualifying rounds and compete in the event's main draw.

Chi picked up right where she left off when she won her draw at the James Bonk Invitational in September. Beginning the ITA championships in the prequalifying round, the Weston, Fla., native defeated Arkansas’ Shannon Hudson 7-6(4), 6-1 before outlasting Ohio State’s No. 99 Miho Kowacase 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.

Chi advanced to the qualifying round with a 7-6(1), 6-0 victory against Lauren Proctor of Winthrop and then dispatched Penn’s Kara Daniel 6-1, 6-1. The rookie’s singles run ended, however, when she fell to 55th-ranked Ingrid Gamarra Martins of South Carolina 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

None of the other Blue Devils won more than one singles match.

After defeating Miami’s Macy Epstein 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-2 in the prequalifying round, Hamlin lost to Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine 6-0, 6-3.

Hamlin’s, classmate McCarthy, also started off strong, edging past Ole Miss’s Tea Jandric in three sets in the first round of the qualifying tournament. But the Cary, N.C. native—who is Duke’s highest ranked player at No. 34—could not maintain her rhythm as she dropped her second-round match in straight sets to Mayar Sherif Ahmed of Pepperdine.

Duke’s lone upperclassmen, Scholl, also captured her first match in three sets against Donika Bashota of TCU in the qualifying round before falling to Syracuse’s Gabriela Knutson.

In doubles, the Blue Devils did not have any better luck.

Scholl and McCarthy won their first round match against Texas Tech’s tandem of Alex Valenstein and Gabriela Talaba 8-3. But the Duke duo—ranked 55th in the country—came up short against the No. 33 pairing of Zoe Katz and Gabby Smith of USC 8-3.

The quartet at the ITA championships were not the only Blue Devils that competed this week. On the other side of the country, a pair of Blue Devils registered better results.

Senior Alyssa Smith and redshirt sophomore Christina Makarova teamed up to capture their doubles draw last Saturday at the Wake Forest Invitation in Winston-Salem, N.C.

After beginning the tournament with back-to-back wins, the tandem defeated Georgia’s team of Laura Patterson and Marta Gonzalez 8-6 to win the A Doubles Draw and maintain their undefeated record as a doubles pair. 

But Smith could not continue her momentum into singles later in the day. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native fell to Elon's Erica Braschi 7-5, 6-2 to move to 1-3 in singles this season before splitting her final two matches at the tournament. 

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