Duke stars advance in NCAA women's tennis

May. 22, 2014 @ 08:47 PM

Sophomore Beatrice Capra and junior Ester Goldfeld both collected All-America accolades with their performances in singles and Capra teamed with senior Hanna Mar to reach the round of 16 in doubles Thursday on the second day of action at the 2014 NCAA Individual Championships, hosted by the University of Georgia at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

“I thought [Goldfeld and Capra] competed really well, especially with Ester losing the first set and coming back in the second set,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “She had a really long game at the start of the second set and when that happens it can go one of two ways, but I thought she hung in there and did well. Beatrice played the big points a little better than Stephanie [Wagner]. Both sets were really close and that’s when Beatrice is at her best, when a match comes down to a few points here or there. She played a few points with a little more intensity and a little bit more desire.”

By advancing to the round of 16, both Capra and Goldfeld garnered All-America honors.

“I’ve been working really hard ever since I got to college,” Goldfeld said. “I made the individual tournament last year, but I wasn’t able to play because of my wrist. Just getting an opportunity to play and show everything I’ve been working for over for the past few years has been great. I’ve definitely taken advantage of the opportunity and will hopefully continue to do so.”

The honor is the second of Capra’s career and the first for Goldfeld.

“[Receiving All-America honors] is really special to me,” Capra said. “With all of the great college players out there and to be considered an All-American is really an honor and shows all of the hard work Jamie, Marc, the team and myself have put in this year. It’s been a really good year and I’m really happy.”

Mar also received All-America honors after being seeded in doubles alongside Capra.

Capra, the seventh-ranked singles player in the nation, opened the day of competition by defeating Miami’s 29th-ranked Stephanie Wagner, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, advancing the Ellicott City, Md., native to the round of 16. The heavily contested match between Capra and Wagner sat tied at 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6, before the Duke sophomore won the decisive first-set tiebreak, 7-3. In the second set, Capra took a 5-2 lead from which Wagner was unable to recover. Although Wagner brought the set within a game at 5-4, Capra successfully closed out the match, earning her 29th victory of the season in the process. Capra now owns a 29-9 ledger over the 2013-14 season and is scheduled to face Silvia Georgia of Stanford Friday.

Duke’s 27th-ranked Goldfeld faced similarly stout competition in Stanford’s 51st-ranked Krista Hardebeck. Hardebeck, who defeated the fourth-ranked Julia Elbaba of Virginia one day earlier to advance to the second round, won the first set 5-7, before Goldfeld responded by taking the second and third sets, 6-3, 6-2, to secure the victory. Goldfeld recorded her 34th win of the season, becoming the 29th singles player in Duke history to reach 34 wins in a season.

Capra and Goldfeld returned to the courts later in the day, participating in the first round of doubles competition with Mar and freshman Alyssa Smith.

The fifth-ranked pair of Mar and Capra faced South Carolina’s 26th-ranked duo of Dominka Kanakova and Elixane Lechemia, advancing to Friday’s round of 16 with a victory in straight sets. After going up a break early in the first set, the Duke tandem cruised the rest of the way, dispatching Kanakova and Lechemia by scores of 6-1, 6-0. The win moved Mar and Capra to 21-6 for the year and ensured them a spot in Friday’s round of 16 where they will meet 78th-ranked Michaela Capannolo and Yuki Chiang of Pepperdine, who advanced with a three-set victory over Florida State’s Daneika Borthwick and Kerrie Cartwright Thursday.

Meanwhile, the 36th-ranked tandem of Goldfeld and Smith suffered a 6-2, 6-4 setback to Georgia’s second-ranked and second-seeded team of Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase. Goldfeld and Smith conclude the season with an 11-7 ledger as a tandem.