DURHAM, NC - The 16th-ranked Clemson women’s tennis team upended the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils, 4-1, at the Ambler Tennis Center in Durham, NC on Sunday. The win was Clemson’s (10-6, 5-2 ACC) first on the road against a top-ten opponent since beating No. 4 Georgia on Feb. 6, 2010 in Athens, GA.
In fact, it was the fifth time under Head Coach Nancy Harris (since 1998) the team has won on the road against a top-ten team, and three of those have come against Duke.
Duke (13-4, 4-2 ACC) had only five players available due to injury, which caused them to forfeit the No 3 doubles and No. 6 singles position, giving Clemson an automatic point. Duke did not go down without a fight on Senior Day, taking the doubles point. However, Clemson came away with impressive singles wins on courts one, two, and five to defeat the Blue Devils.
“It was a really tough match,” said Nancy Harris, who won her 70th career match against a top-25 opponent. “I certainly have a great amount of respect for Duke for playing so hard despite only having five. They really outplayed us in the doubles, and that took a lot out of our team. As a whole, I’m proud of the way we came back after a tough doubles point. We’re not quite where I want to be yet, but I’m really thrilled to get the win and proud of the team.”
Clemson needed to win just one of two doubles matches in order to claim the point, but were unable to do so. Beatrice Gumulya and Romy Koelzer came closest on court two, as they had four match points. However, Duke’s Mary Clayton and Hanna Mar held them off in a tiebreak to get Duke on the board.
The score was knotted at one, as Duke gave up the No. 6 match. Freshman Tristen Dewar started the momentum on court five, as she defeated Senior Nicole Lipp, 6-0, 6-0 to give Clemson the 2-1 lead. Dewar improved to 10-6 in dual match play and 4-3 in the ACC.
“Tristen had to go out there and really execute in a match we felt she could win,” said Harris. “She really had to go out there and focus, and she did just that.”
The next point came from 16-year-old freshman Liz Jeukeng, who was itching to play after not playing doubles. Jeukeng came out on a mission in her first career appearance at the No. 1 spot in Clemson’s lineup. Jeukeng, ranked 42nd nationally, decisively took down No. 19 Hanna Mar, 6-3, 6-1. The Tiger freshman improved to 14-3 on the season and 7-0 in league play. She’ll be a top contender for league Player of the Week after beating No. 43 Zoe De Bruycker of North Carolina on Saturday, and Mar on Sunday.
“Liz went to work. She had a great game plan, like a surgeon,” said Harris. “She reminds me a lot of [2012 graduate] Keri Wong in her ability to execute a game plan, and she did it against Hanna Mar, one of my favorite players in college tennis. A great win against a great player in her first match at the top spot.”
Gumulya and Koelzer continued to battle in their respective matches, with each dropping the first set. Koelzer came back to claim the second set in her match against Marianne Jodoin before play was stopped. However, Yana Koroleva would put an end to the match before either Koelzer or Gumulya could finish.
Koroleva, ranked 16th in the nation, was in a battle with No. 99 Mary Clayton on court two. She and Clayton had met in the fall at the ITA Carolina Regional Championship Quarterfinals, with Koroleva taking that match, 7-5, 6-1. On Sunday, it was Clayton who struck first, winning the first set, 6-4. However, Koroleva made a couple of adjustments between sets, and went on to win sets two and three, 6-0, 6-0, to improve to 6-1 in ACC play and earn her 10th win of the season against a ranked opponent.
“I was really proud of Yana, she was really battling,” said Harris. “At first, she couldn’t play a certain way that she wanted to, but she made a couple of changes. She just never goes away, and she was a great fighter from start to finish. She was very excited to get the clinching point. You want players to never go away, and she did that today.”
Clemson will carry the momentum into Hoke Sloan next weekend, where they’ll play Virginia Tech (11:00 am Saturday) and Virginia (12:00 pm Sunday). There are only four matches left in the regular season, as Clemson continues to fight for a top-four seed that would earn them a first-round bye at the ACC Championships on April 25-28.
Tennis Match Results
Clemson vs Duke
Apr 07, 2013 at Durham, N.C.
(Ambler Tennis Stadium)
#16 Clemson 4, #6 Duke 1
1. #42 Liz Jeukeng (CU) def. #19 Hanna Mar (DUKE) 6-3, 6-1
2. #16 Yana Koroleva (CU) def. #99 Mary Clayton (DUKE) 4-6, 6-0, 6-0
3. Annie Mulholland (DUKE) vs. #49 Beatrice Gumulya (CU) 7-6 (7-5), 2-0, unfinished
4. #94 Marianne Jodoin (DUKE) vs. Romy Koelzer (CU) 6-1, 2-6, unfinished
5. Tristen Dewar (CU) def. Nicole Lipp (DUKE) 6-0, 6-0
6. Carola Pederzani (CU) def. No player (DUKE), by forfeit
1. Mary Clayton/Hanna Mar (DUKE) def. Tristen Dewar/Yana Koroleva (CU) 8-6
2. Annie Mulholland/Marianne Jodoin (DUKE) def. Beatrice Gumulya/Romy Koelzer (CU) 9-8 (7-2)
3. Liz Jeukeng/Ani Miao (CU) def. No player/No player (DUKE), by forfeit
Clemson 10-6 (5-2 ACC); National ranking #16
Duke 13-5 (4-2 ACC); National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,5,1,2)