No. 21 Duke women's tennis earns dominant win against Louisville, will face Wake Forest in ACC tournament

Freshman Shavit Kimchi dives for a volley against Virginia.
Freshman Shavit Kimchi dives for a volley against Virginia.

On Sunday afternoon, No. 21 Duke showed off why expectations were so high leading into the season. Head coach Jamie Ashworth’s squad won in dominant fashion on the road against Louisville, coming away with a 4-0 sweep against the Cardinals. 

“I know [the Cardinals] haven't won a lot of matches, but they've had some close matches and been in a lot of matches,” Ashworth said. “So, it was important that we just come out and take care of what needed to be taken care of.”

The doubles point came with wins by freshman Shavit Kimchi playing alongside Emma Jackson as well as graduate students Iuliia Bryzgalova and Brianna Shvets both winning easily. In singles play, Jackson won 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 1 slot, and Kimchi and Shvets, playing in the No. 2 and No. 5 slots respectively, also came away with straight-set victories. After the three victories, Duke (14-8, 7-6 in the ACC) had secured a sweep and play stopped. 

Sunday’s match came after a tough loss Friday in South Bend, Ind., where the Blue Devils lost a few crucial points that went a long way towards deciding the match against Notre Dame. Kimchi and Jackson, paired together in doubles for the first time this season, won their match, but the other two pairings each failed to convert on multiple match points en route to defeats. Nonetheless, they bounced back Sunday in a big way against Louisville (4-18, 0-13), something Ashworth was especially proud of.

“I think our doubles is getting better,” Ashworth said. “It's been a work in progress all season… I like that we are getting better and keep getting better this time of year. We are not satisfied with where we are.”

A theme from throughout the season, Ashworth critiqued the team’s habit of seemingly waiting for the other team to make a mistake, rather than attack the point themselves. Duke has been fairly inconsistent this year, especially during ACC play. The Blue Devils have not gone on a winning or losing streak of more than three games in conference, which can be a result of changing mentalities by the players. Particularly on crucial points, like the match points lost against the Fighting Irish, Ashworth has been looking for the team to be on the offensive, and accept missing points because they went for it. Still, he was glad the team came back fighting after Friday’s defeat. 

"I feel like every time that we've had a little bit of a disappointment we've come back and played well in the next opportunity," Ashworth said. "So, it was definitely good to see that we didn't let the results on Friday affect how we came out today.” 

The Blue Devils now look ahead to the ACC tournament, where they will face Wake Forest Thursday in Cary, N.C. Earlier this season, the Blue Devils defeated the Demon Deacons 4-1 in Winston-Salem. 


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