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Duke women's tennis struggles against quality competition at Freeman Memorial Championships to open 2017

<p>Chalena Scholl and Kaitlyn McCarthy reached the semifinals last weekend, one of the few highlights for the Blue Devils against a stacked field.&nbsp;</p>

Chalena Scholl and Kaitlyn McCarthy reached the semifinals last weekend, one of the few highlights for the Blue Devils against a stacked field. 

A handful of Duke players had the chance for a final tune-up before starting a spring season full of high expectations.

But after a rough weekend on the West Coast, the Blue Devils still have plenty of work to do with the national team indoor championships less than a month away. 

After learning that they are heading into the season ranked No. 10 in the nation, five Duke competitors traveled to Las Vegas Friday through Sunday to compete in the Freeman Memorial Championships. The doubles duo of senior Chalena Scholl and sophomore Kaitlyn McCarthy advanced the furthest out of any Blue Devils, as they reached the semifinals before being upended by North Carolina’s top-seeded duo of Jessie Aney and Hayley Carter in the semifinals.

Scholl also had a strong showing in singles event after entering the tournament ranked 34th in the nation, winning consecutive matches in straight sets against the Tar Heels’ Rachael James-Baker and UCLA’s Jada Hart. The Pampano Beach, Fla., native was bounced in the quarterfinals, though, 6-0, 6-2 by Stanford’s Melissa Lord, ending what was a strong week for the All-ACC competitor. 

McCarthy was not as successful on her own, as she dropped both of her singles matches in straight sets.

The other doubles pairing—which consisted of senior Alyssa Smith and freshman Meible Chi—also struggled, falling in all three of their matches to highly-ranked doubles teams.

Chi—who was Duke's best player in the fall and made the semifinals at the ITA national indoor singles championship—and Smith were just as unsuccessful in singles competitions, with both failing to advance past the first round after suffering multiple losses. Junior Rebecca Smaller did advance to the second round—through a first-round bye—but lost to Pepperdine’s Jean Runglerdriangkrai 6-4, 6-1 soon after.

Junior Samantha Harris, redshirt sophomore Christina Makarova and sophomore Ellyse Hamlin all remained in Durham with the outdoor season still to come after nationals next month.

Despite a poor overall showing in Las Vegas, Duke will have a chance to bounce back at home when it starts the dual-match regular season against Elon Jan. 25.

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