©Colette Lewis 2011--
With a match tied at 3-3, there's no one Duke would rather see on the court than senior Reka Zsilinszka--including Zsilinszka herself.
"I talked about this with my teammates, I really like being the last match on," Zsilinszka said after beating Georgia Tech's Christina Ngo 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 to give the Blue Devils a 4-3 win and a spot in the quarterfinals Sunday. "I feel really good about, I feel comfortable, I like that the attention's on me. It's very heartbreaking when you lose those, but it's literally the best feeling when you can win it."
Duke, the No. 3 seed, lost the doubles point to No. 14 seed Georgia Tech, playing "horrible" doubles, according to Blue Devils head coach Jamie Ashworth.
"Just fundamental stuff that we didn't do a good job on. But we did a great job in singles."
Georgia Tech took a 2-0 lead when Jillian O'Neill beat Nadine Fahoum 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 singles. Duke cut the lead in half when Rachel Kahan won at No. 5 over Sasha Krupina 6-2, 6-2. Ellah Nze brought Duke even with a 7-5, 6-0 victory at No. 2 over Caroline Lilley. The remaining three matches were in various stages of the third set, but Duke's Mary Clayton gave her team its first lead of the match with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 6. Georgia Tech's Lynn Blau had a 5-1 lead in the third set of her match with Liz Plotkin, but Plotkin brought it back to 5-4, saving three match points serving at 3-5. Blau broke Plotkin to end the match however, making it 3-3 and directing all the attention back to Zsilinszka and Ngo, who were 1-2 in the third set. Zsilinszka had dropped the first set 6-4, making more errors than usual, but she found her rhythm and won the second 6-0. Ngo, a junior from Vietnam, continued to try to counteract the moonball strategy that Zsilinszka employs by coming forward and finishing. But Zsilinszka, a senior from North Carolina, hit lob and topspin passes with regularity and Ngo's overhead was not entirely reliable.
At 3-3, Zsilinszka broke Ngo, held at love for 5-3 and broke again for the win, which came nearly four hours after the match started on the sunny and cool morning. Advancing to the quarterfinals obviously meant a lot to an emotional Ashworth.
"We haven't won a match like that in a long time," Ashworth said, wiping tears from his eyes. "For Reka to be able to do that after ACCs was huge. I told her after she lost the last match at ACCs (to Florida State) that she would be in that situation again, and I can't tell you how proud of them I am."
"I try to focus on the good feeling, not the bad feeling," Zsilinszka said.
While she was putting Duke in the quarterfinals, UCLA's McCall Jones was entering a tiebreaker with Virginia's Lindsey Hardenbergh at No. 1 singles, the Bruins leading 3-1. If Jones didn't win it, the match, already four hours in duration, would be going even longer. No. 11 Virginia, playing in the Sweet 16 for the first time in the program's history, lost the doubles point, but battled to extend the No. 6 Bruins. Maya Johansson made it 2-0 UCLA with a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 6, but Virginia's Emily Fraser made it 2-1 with a 6-4, 6-3 decision over Noelle Hickey at No. 2.
The match stayed at 2-1 for a very long time after that, before UCLA's Courtney Dolehide made it 3-1 with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 win over Caryssa Peretz at No. 5. When Jones won her match over Hardenbergh 6-4, 7-6(1), the Bruins had their very tough 4-1 win and a place in the quarterfinals against Duke. UCLA lost in the Round of 16 to the Blue Devils in the 2010 NCAA team championships.
#3 DUKE (25-4) 4
#14 GEORGIA TECH (15-11) 3
Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 2)
1) No. 18 Lilley/O'Neill (GT) d. No. 52 Kahan/Nze (DUKE) 8-3
2) Blau/Kilborn (GT) d. No. 55 Fahoum/Mar (DUKE) 8-3
3) No. 90 Clayton/Gorny (DUKE) vs. Ngo/Krupina (GT) aban.
Singles (Order of Finish: 1, 5, 2, 6, 4, 3)
1) No. 32 Jillian O'Neill (GT) d. No. 39 Nadine Fahoum (DUKE) 6-2, 6-3
2) No. 106 Ellah Nze (DUKE) d. No. 98 Caroline Lilley (GT) 7-5, 6-0
3) No. 20 Reka Zsilinszka (DUKE) d. No. 65 Viet Ha Ngo (GT) 4-6, 6-0, 6-3
4) Lynn Blau (GT) d. No. 72 Elizabeth Plotkin (DUKE) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
5) No. 89 Rachel Kahan (DUKE) d. Sasha Krupina (GT) 6-2, 6-2
6) No. 83 Mary Clayton (DUKE) d. Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
#6 UCLA (21-5) 4
#11 VIRGINIA (20-8) 1
Doubles (Order of Finish: 3, 2)
1) No. 23 Dolehide/Remynse (UCLA) vs. No. 32 Hardenbergh/Vierra (UVA) aban.
2) No. 24 Hickey/Jones (UCLA) d. No. 20 Fraser/Tomljanovic (UVA) 8-2
3) Johansson/Montez (UCLA) d. Fuccillo/Peretz (UVA) 8-1
Singles (Order of Finish: 6, 2, 5, 1)
1) No. 57 McCall Jones (UCLA) vs. No. 27 Lindsey Hardenbergh (UVA) 6-4, 7-6 (1)
2) No. 60 Emily Fraser (UVA) d. No. 41 Noelle Hickey (UCLA) 6-4, 6-3
3) No. 76 Andrea Remynse (UCLA) vs. No. 101 Erin Vierra (UVA) aban.
4) No. 97 Pamela Montez (UCLA) vs. (118) Hana Tomljanovic (UVA) aban.
5) No. 77 Courtney Dolehide (UCLA) d. Caryssa Peretz (UVA) 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
6) Maya Johansson (UCLA) vs. Maria Fuccillo (UVA) 6-2, 6-3