UCLA ends Duke's NCAA run in quarterfinals 4-2
After losing the doubles point Saturday in its NCAA women’s tennis championships quarterfinal match against No. 5 UCLA, fourth-seeded Duke faced the daunting prospect of having to win four of six singles matches to advance.
The Blue Devils battled for nearly four hours at Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex, making the Bruins work to reach the Final Four. In the end UCLA prevailed 4-2 in a high-intensity match.
It was a quarterfinal pairing that felt like it could have been a final.
For a Duke (27-5) team that spent part of the season ranked No. 1, this wasn’t the ending it was expecting. UCLA won the critical doubles point and that was hard to overcome, Duke coach Jamie Ashworth said.
“They played a lot more aggressive than we did in doubles,” he said. “No one’s hit balls at us that hard all year, to be honest with you. ... I thought we did a good job in the beginning of the singles and we gave ourselves a chance.”
Duke overcame losing the doubles point in its 4-3 win over UCLA (25-2) in February — it couldn’t replicate that Saturday.
“They’re a really good team, the one team that I thought could give us a lot of trouble,” Ashworth said, “and they gave us enough.”
Duke didn’t need much time to tie the match and take the lead. Rachel Kahan cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 6 singles and Hanna Mar made it 2-1 Blue Devils with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 3. That was Duke’s high point.
UCLA picked up a win at No. 4, and soon after closed out the match with victories at Nos. 1 and 5, Duke will have three players in the NCAA singles draw next week, as well as the team of Hanna Mar and Beatrica Capra in the doubles.