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The Devil's in the details: Inside the numbers of Duke women’s tennis's ACC title

Freshman Emma Jackson won a third set tiebreaker to clinch a valuable singles point.
Freshman Emma Jackson won a third set tiebreaker to clinch a valuable singles point.

They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.

1

One—that’s how many points No. 5 Duke allowed in its ACC Championship contest Sunday against No. 7 Virginia. Junior Chloe Beck fell in her singles match to former French Open teammate Emma Navarro 6-4, 6-2, though Navarro’s win was the Cavaliers' lone score of the day. Two matches were left unfinished after the Blue Devils clinched the victory. It was Duke’s match to win, and win it did

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After head coach Jamie Ashworth started his Duke career with seven straight conference championship wins—two as an assistant coach and five as head coach—a 10-year drought after the Blue Devils’ last ACC title in 2012 seemed uncharacteristic of the powerhouse program. A decade ago, Duke defeated North Carolina 4-2 to close out a perfect ACC slate and clinch the conference championship. It would continue on to the Final Four of the national tournament, losing to the eventual national champion, Florida, 4-3. 

3

When it came to crunch time, the Blue Devils came in clutch. Three of Duke’s four points were clinched in tiebreakers. Freshman Ellie Coleman, after winning her first set against Sara Ziodato 6-4, found herself stuck on serve in the second set. She wasn’t fazed by the pressure, however, and gave the Blue Devils their third point. Both senior Georgia Drummy and sophomore Karolina Berankova’s doubles match and freshman Emma Jackson’s singles match went to third-set tiebreakers. The Drummy-Berankova duo claimed the doubles point and Jackson opened her tiebreaker with six straight points, clinching the title with a dominant closing performance. 

19

The win against Virginia was Duke’s 19th of the season and 11th in the ACC. Its only two losses were just a couple of days apart as it fell to Florida State 4-2 and Miami 4-3 March 25 and March 27, respectively. That fateful weekend in the Sunshine State re-energized the Blue Devils, however, who have won eight straight since, including victories against No. 2 N.C. State and—at that point, undefeated—No. 1 North Carolina. Duke has proven that it can win against anyone, and will look to continue its hot streak at the NCAA tournament next month in Champaign, Ill. 

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