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April 22, 2011
CARY, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Tennis Championship couldn’t ask for much more in the way of a semifinal field. Three teams ranked among the nation’s top six and a fourth that has played its best tennis over the past several weeks are set to take to the courts on Saturday.
Playing at several different locations as rain forced Friday’s quarterfinal matches indoors, third-ranked Duke, fifth-ranked North Carolina, sixth-ranked Miami and No. 18 Florida State emerged the winners.
The semifinal bracket will find top-seeded Duke facing fifth-seeded FSU at 10 a.m., while second-seeded North Carolina and third-seeded Miami are scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. The winners advance to Sunday morning’s ACC Championship match.
With the rain expected to move out of the area overnight, tournament officials were hopeful of resuming play at Cary Tennis Park on Saturday.
Friday’s quarterfinal matches did not come without challenges for the winners.
After building a 3-1 lead against eighth-seeded NC State, Duke had its hands full turning back the stubborn Wolfpack. NC State charged back to tie the team score behind three-set wins by Sanaa Bhambri and Sandhya Nagaraj at the No. 1 and 2 spots. The deciding match on the Nol 3 court also went three sets, with the Blue Devils’ Reka Zsilinszka ultimately prevailing over the Wolfpack’s Tatania Illova by a 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-3 count to lift the nationally third-ranked Blue Devils to a 4-3 victory.
Duke’s strength in the bottom half of the singles competition proved decisive, as No. 4 Elizabeth Plotkin, No. 5 Rachel Kahan and No. 6 Mary Clayton all won in straight sets while losing a combined eight games.
The Blue Devils will face surging Florida State, which has beaten three top-11 teams in a span of a week – including a 4-2 victory over Duke in its regular-season finale at Tallahassee last Sunday. The fifth-seeded Seminoles added to that list on Friday with a 4-3 win over 11th-ranked and fourth-seeded Virginia at UNC’s Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
The deciding match came on the No. 4 court, where freshman Ruth Seaborne topped Virginia’s Erin Vierra in three sets by a score of 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to send FSU to the semifinals. The win was the seventh straight for the 18th-ranked Seminoles, who improved to 14-7.
North Carolina downed defending champion and seventh-seeded Georgia Tech by a 4-1 score at Duke’s Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center Jelena Durisic came up big for the nationally fifth-ranked Tar Heels, topping Carolina Lilley 6-3, 6-1 on the No. 2 court and teaming with Tessa Lyons for a win at No. 2 doubles that helped the Tar Heels claim that point.
In Friday’s final match at Duke, Miami (18-5) kept alive its season streak of not losing to a team ranked outside the top 10 with a 4-1 victory over sixth-seeded and 13th-ranked Clemson. Wins by Anna Bartenstein, Gaby Mejia and Kayla Rizzolo at No. 2, 3 and 4 singles carried the Hurricanes to their eighth win in their last nine matches.
Saturday’s semifinal matches and Sunday’s championship match will be archived for viewing on delayed basis on theACC.com. Video is expected to be available both evenings, beginning at approximately 6 p.m.