No. 6 Duke formally opened its tennis season this weekend with bright fire on its side.
Hosting No. 10 Ohio State and No. 23 Princeton at Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center, the sixth-ranked Blue Devils settled wins against the competing programs. Beginning with a 4-3 victory against the Buckeyes Friday, Jan. 21, the Blue Devils improved throughout the competitions and finished the weekend with a second triumph, a 4-2 decision against the Tigers.
Duke (2-0) began the weekend on top, first by narrowly defeating Ohio State (0-2), as the groups battled it out in doubles and singles. Sophomore Kelly Chen and freshman Ellie Coleman led in the first doubles match. The partners defeated their Buckeye foes 6-1 in the single set to begin the day with a Blue Devil victory. However, in the second match, Ohio State's Irina Cantos Siemers and Sydni Ratliff gave Blue Devils Emma Jackson and Eliza Omirou a difficult path to success. They eventually fell 6-3 to give Duke and the Buckeyes a balanced doubles slate in their matches.
It wasn't until the final doubles match that Duke finally made a mark again on the winning side—when Blue Devils Chloe Beck and Margaryta Bilokin defeated Buckeyes' Isabelle Boulais and Kolie Allen. But Beck and Bilokin didn't have an easy path to victory, as their opponents led them in games for a more significant part of the single set. Eventually, the two Blue Devils made their way back to take the win, with a tie setting the groups 6-6 in their games. And in the tiebreaking extra set, Duke settled for a 7-3 victory to give its group the extra point to clutch the win.
The rest of the day was defined by balance. The two teams tied in the singles matches, as the players each had two sets to either win or fall to their opponents. A player from Duke's roster to notch victory was Georgia Drummy against Cantos Siemers. And in the first set, Drummy just narrowly beat her opponent.
Beck was also one of the most successful Blue Devils on the day, upsetting the Buckeyes in both doubles and singles and taking 6-0 and 6-1 in her singles sets. Chen had a balanced slate with her opponent, Lucia Marzal, after both players had a victory in successive sets, but the Cerritos, Ca., native came away with the win in the third set to give Duke another singles point.
Having snagged the doubles point and garnered three additional points from singles play, the Blue Devils finished Friday with a win and spent Saturday preparing for the Tigers' arrival in Durham.
The group didn't start the second leg of its weekend as strong as it could've, losing out to Princeton (0-4) in doubles play after only notching a single win. Drummy and Karolina Berankova took six victories in their doubles set against Princeton's Victoria Hu and Leena Bennetto. However, they commenced playing with significant success in their singles matches.
The Blue Devils clinched four matches in singles, and in each set, the players from Duke's roster that had a win secured at least six games in each of their sets. Drummy, Beck, Bilokin and freshman Emma Jackson were all part of the group that gave Duke its victory.
Duke will compete in Durham again Saturday, Jan. 29, as the group takes on Nebraska at the ITA Kickoff Weekend.
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