Despite a disappointing start to the season, it looks like the Blue Devils are back on track.
No. 8 Duke took down both No. 5 Florida State and Miami this past Saturday and Sunday by scores of 5-1 and 4-3, respectively.
The victory against Florida State was a major one for the Blue Devils. While the Seminoles took the first singles match, Duke won every other singles match as well as the doubles point en route to the upset win.
“We don’t really talk a whole lot about rankings and we just believe in ourselves and go out there and play whoever it is,” graduate student Meible Chi said.
That mentality certainly served Chi well, as she and junior Margaryta Bilokin defeated Florida State’s Victoria Allen and Petra Hule—the seventh-ranked doubles duo in the country—6-1 in a mere 27 minutes. Meanwhile, sophomore Chloe Beck and freshman Karolina Berankova cruised past Nandini Das and Andrea Garcia 6-3 to clinch the doubles victory for the Blue Devils (9-1, 4-0 in the ACC) Saturday.
On Sunday, Chi and Bilokin took down Miami’s Estela Perez-Somarriba and Isabella Pfennig 6-3, and a Hurricane default in the third doubles match of the day gave Duke another critical doubles win.
“We challenged them before the match and said the mark of a championship team is that you have to be able to come out and win on back-to-back days,” head coach Jamie Ashworth said.
Chi also brought the energy and experience needed for victories in both of her singles matches over the weekend, including a come-from-behind win Saturday against Allen that moved her into a tie for sixth place in career wins at Duke. The Florida native broke the tie with another win the next day.
Her leadership in guiding the Blue Devils’ energy all season has been key to Duke’s success, and was especially important against the Seminoles (9-3, 4-2).
“Florida State always plays with a ton of emotion,” Ashworth said. “It was really important that we brought a high level of emotion, a high level of energy in between points, not just during points.”
Despite some challenges against Miami (3-5, 1-3), Duke was able to finish the weekend with another win to cap off an impressive two days.
“It’s always a good weekend when we can beat Florida State and Miami back-to-back,” Ashworth said.
While the Blue Devils are undoubtedly walking away from this weekend emotionally drained, they’ll have to recover quickly in preparation for a rematch against No. 13 Georgia Tech, the only team Duke has lost to this season, on Friday.
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