W. Tennis Falls to No. 3 Duke in 4-3 Heartbreaker
By Alex Schwartz
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami women’s tennis team had an overall match point Sunday evening against third-ranked Duke, but came up on the short end of a 4-3 decision at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
No. 18 Miami (6-3, 0-2 ACC) built a 3-1 advantage over a Duke (9-1, 2-0 ACC) team that reached the NCAA Final Four a season ago, but the Blue Devils won each of the final three matches to earn the victory.
“If you don’t fight in this conference, you have no shot. So, the fact that we fought is something we talk about as being a given,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said of the way her team competed. “Honestly, I’m really not that impressed with the fact that we showed up and fought because that’s got to be a given at this level, in this conference. Obviously, I’m proud that they decided to do it today, but . . . the effort, that’s something we’ve got to bring every day, whether we’re playing the bottom teams in our conference or the top teams.”
Duke began the day by taking the first doubles match, a 6-2 decision for Margaryta Bilokin and Meible Chi over senior Ana Madcur and freshman Lucia Marzal. However, Miami responded with a pair of narrow victories to take the opening point.
First, junior Estela Perez-Somarriba and sophomore Ulyana Shirokova downed Kelly Chen and Hannah Zhao, 6-4.
Freshman Daevenia Achong and senior Daniella Roldan then earned the highest-ranked doubles triumph of the spring, as the Hurricane duo put together a stellar showing to knock off No. 18 Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy, 7-5.
“I think that our doubles is starting to come together,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We’re starting to play smarter in the big moments. I think we’re starting to just define ourselves as a doubles program. That point is so important.”
In singles play, the Blue Devils once again started strong, this time behind a 6-1, 6-0 victory by No. 26 Chen over Achong that leveled the score at one. Miami, however, earned first-set wins on three of the other five courts.
A top-25 contest was the next to conclude, as seventh-ranked Perez-Somarriba tallied her second top-30 win in the past three matches. The reigning ACC Player of the Year posted her ninth straight win by defeating No. 22 Maria Mateas, 6-0, 6-4, to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 edge.
Marzal upped Miami’s lead to 3-1 with a tremendous performance against No. 113 Hamlin to record a 6-4, 6-3 win. The Valencia, Spain, native moved to 2-0 on the spring against ranked foes with the result.
Roldan turned in a splendid effort against No. 18 Chi, but dropped a narrow 6-7 (4-7), 4-6 decision, as Duke trimmed its deficit to one. The Blue Devils then pulled even at three with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 triumph by Bilokin over Madcur.
All eyes then focused on Court 4, where Girbau had a 6-4, 6-5 lead on No. 108 McCarthy after winning three consecutive games. She pulled even at deuce in the 12th game, but double-faulted to send the match to a tiebreaker, in which she won the first two points, but dropped the final seven.
McCarthy took the first two games of the final set before Girbau won two of the next three and had two break points to pull even. However, McCarthy came away with the hold and went on to win the set to seal a 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 result and give Duke the tight victory.
“You’ve got a freshman out there battling until the end against a senior,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “You’ve got Lucia down on Court 6 coming up with a big win for her, another freshman in the lineup. [Our team] played a good match.”
The Hurricanes will be back in action Friday at 1 p.m., as they square off with Pittsburgh in Wexford, Pa.
1. Daevenia Achong/Daniella Roldan (UM) def. No. 18 Ellyse Hamlin/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU), 7-5
2. Estela Perez-Somarriba/Ulyana Shirokova (UM) def. Kelly Chen/Hannah Zhao (DU), 6-4
3. Margartya Bilokin/Meible Chi (DU) def. Ana Madcur/Lucia Marzal (UM), 6-2
1. No. 7 Estela Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. No. 22 Maria Mateas (DU), 6-0, 6-4
2. No. 18 Meible Chi (DU) def. Daniella Roldan (UM), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
3. No. 26 Kelly Chen (DU) def. Daevenia Achong (UM), 6-0, 6-1
4. No. 108 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def. Carla Girbau (UM), 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3
5. Margaryta Bilokin (DU) def. Ana Madcur (UM), 7-6 (7-2), 6-1
6. Lucia Marzal (UM) def. No. 123 Ellyse Hamlin (DU), 6-4, 6-3