No. 17 Clemson comes from behind to stun top-ranked Duke 4-3
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Joana Eidukonyte’s come-from-behind 6-7, 7-5, 6-0 win on court six sealed Clemson’s first victory against a top-ranked team on Thursday. The Tigers (19-5, 11-2 ACC), led by head coach Nancy Harris, took down No. 1 Duke (21-2, 11-2 ACC) 4-3 in a match that took more than five hours to complete at the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center. Clemson had trailed 3-2, but earned singles wins on courts one and six to close out the match and beat a top-ten Blue Devil team for the second consecutive year.
Entering the day, the Blue Devils had a combined 23-2 record in ACC doubles matches this season. In dramatic and intense fashion, the Tigers were able to take two of the three matches to earn the doubles point. On court three, Jessy Rompies and Joana Eidukonyte improved to 4-0 on the season with a 8-4 win against the 80th-ranked duo in the nation. The Tiger pairing was in control from the start and never trailed in the match. Playing on court one, Yana Koroleva and Romy Koelzer battled the No. 5 pair in the nation to a tiebreaker, but ultimately fell 8-7 (7-2). With the match squared at one apiece, Tristen Dewar and Beatrice Gumulya held on for a 8-7 (7-3) win, giving Clemson the doubles point for the 21st time in 24 matches this season. Gumulya and Dewar have won both matches they have been paired together for this season.
Duke got off on a hot streak to begin singles play, winning three of the first four decisions to take a 3-2 lead. Koelzer was the bright spot in that mix, though, winning her match in three sets. After losing the first set, Koelzer fought back to win 7-6, 6-1 in an outstanding performance. She now has a 12-match winning streak and is 16-3 overall in dual match play.
At the top flight, Koroleva had an impressive victory, defeating the No. 5 player in the nation 7-6, 2-6, 6-2. The win improves her record to 18-5 on the season and Beatrice Capra’s No. 5 ranking ties for the highest ranked opponent Koroleva has defeated. But undoubtedly the ultimate thrill came on court six.
With the match tied at three apiece, Eidukonyte stunned Duke with a 6-7, 7-5, 6-0 victory to clinch the match for the Tigers. The win, which she described as “the biggest of her career,” improves her record to 5-1 in the ACC. She trailed 5-3 in the second set and fought off two match points before taking the next nine games.