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Duke women's tennis wins eighth straight vs. No. 19 Miami

<p>Meible Chi has won 19 singles matches in a row.</p>

Meible Chi has won 19 singles matches in a row.

Duke extended its winning streak to eight at Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center Sunday afternoon.

The fourth-ranked Blue Devils remained undefeated in the ACC with a 6-1 win against No. 19 Miami to cap a strong weekend after a 7-0 sweep of Notre Dame Friday. The Hurricanes were the first team to steal a point in a match against Duke in more than a month.

“The biggest thing is that we’re not overlooking any opponent at all,” Blue Devil head coach Jamie Ashworth said. “We come out and we play with the same intensity and the same focus, no matter who were playing, ranked or unranked, it doesn’t matter. We’re coming out and we’re trying to use each match to get better and use each match to prove to others and ourselves how good we can be.”

Duke (14-1, 6-0 in the ACC) came out strong to make quick work of Miami (9-6, 5-3) in doubles play. Hannah Zhao and Meible Chi started off the day with a 6-2 win on Court 3. No. 5 tandem Samantha Harris and Kelly Chen followed that up with a 6-3 win on Court 2 to seal the doubles point, and No. 6 Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy got cut short, with their match being left at 4-3.

The Blue Devils continued their strong showing in singles, despite No.7 Samantha Harris struggling on Court 1 against No. 9 Estela Perez-Somarriba. Harris entered the match10-4 against ranked opponents on the season, but could not seem to find a rhythm against Perez-Somarriba, who ended Harris’ six-match winning streak and defeated her 6-1, 6-1. 

“[Perez-Somarriba] played a great match. She didn’t really give Sam any free points,” Ashworth said. “And she’s proven all year that she’s one of the best players in the country.... If you’re off just a little bit, and Sam was off just a little bit, playing someone of that level, you’re going to be in for a tough match. But Sam will rebound...she’s not someone that when she loses matches it phases her.”

Although Perez-Somarriba was able to even the team score at one apiece, Duke quickly took the lead once again when Chen topped Hurricane opponent Daniella Roldan on Court 3, making quick work of her 6-2, 6-0. Chen continues to be undefeated in ACC play.

Courts 2, 4, and 5 were all much closer, going back and forth as the match progressed. Despite a quick 6-0 first set, Zhao and her opponent, Dominika Paterova, became swept up in a competitive battle on Court 6. The two were tied for much of the second set.

McCarthy extended the team lead to 3-1 on Court 4 after settling into the match in the second set and beating Ulyana Shirokova 6-4, 6-2. 

After a long first set, Chi clinched the win for Duke on Court 2, ending the match with a slam that sent the ball soaring over Sinead Lohan’s head. Chi also remains undefeated in ACC play, extending her winning streak to 19 matches and making her 24-3 overall on the season.

At the same time, Hamlin clinched a similar straight-set victory 6-4, 6-2 against Ana Madcur, putting the Blue Devils up 5-1.

Whereas Court 6 was the first to finish the first set, it was the last playing at the end of the ACC matchup. A competitive second set went to a tiebreaker between Zhao and Paterova, but Zhao came out on top to remain undefeated in ACC play, finishing off Paterova with an ace to win 6-0, 7-6.

“There’s really no change in our focus, preparation or anything like that,” Ashworth said. “That’s a sign of a really mature team.... We keep working hard and keep valuing every opportunity to play. I keep saying it over and over, but this team really knows that.”

The Blue Devils will continue their homestand against Florida State Thursday at 5 p.m.