Deacons to Host No. 6 Duke Wednesday
April 13, 2010
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Wake Forest women's tennis team will play host to defending national champion No. 6 Duke on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The match will be played outdoors at Leighton Stadium, weather permitting, and admission is free.
The Deacons split a pair of home Atlantic Coast Conference matches last weekend, winning a close 4-3 match over Virginia Tech on Saturday before falling to Virginia 5-2 on Sunday. Wake's record stands at 8-12 (2-6 ACC).
Wake Forest was able to rely on the top two positions of its singles lineup as No. 40 Martina Pavalec and Sasha Kulikova each went a perfect 2-0 in singles on the weekend. Pavalec gutted out two three-setters at the No. 1 position, defeating the Hokies' Yasmin Hamza 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-2 and the Cavaliers' No. 44 Lindsey Hardenbergh 5-7, 7-6, 1-0 (10-8). Kulikova's victories at the No. 2 position came much easier as she shut out Virginia Tech's Martha Blakely 6-0, 6-0 before beating UVA's Emily Fraser 6-3, 6-3.
Kulikova has posted an impressive 15-4 record in singles this season, including 5-2 in ACC play. Pavalec has gone an even 4-4 since joining the lineup in late March.
Doubles has been the key to Wake's success this year as the team's only two ACC victories, against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, have come when the Deacs have taken the doubles point. The Deacons' top doubles team of Kulikova and freshman Kathryn Talbert is ranked No. 36 in the country. The duo split their weekend matches, beating the team of Hamza and Holly Johnson of Virginia Tech before falling to Jennifer Stevens and Hannah Tomljanovic from Virginia.
Duke, last year's national champions, enter Wednesday's match on a three-match losing skid, having dropped 4-3 decisions to No. 1 North Carolina, No. 25 Georgia Tech and No. 8 Clemson last week. The Blue Devils have a record of 17-5 (5-3 ACC).
Duke has a deep team, boasting three ranked singles players and two ranked doubles teams. No. 36 Reka Zsilinszka has been outstanding for the Blue Devils in conference play, going a perfect 7-0 while playing at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. No. 77 Elizabeth Plotkin has gone 4-2 against ACC foes, playing mainly No. 2 singles. The 61st-ranked doubles team of Zsilinszka and Plotkin have been strong at the No. 2 spot with a record of 13-5 overall and 5-1 in ACC play.
The weak spot for the Blue Devils this season has been at the top of the singles and doubles lineups as they have had to cope with the loss of last year's NCAA singles champion Mallory Cecil, who left school to play on the professional circuit after the 2009 season.
Duke has looked to No. 50 Ellah Nze to fill the void at the No. 1 singles position, but she has struggled at times, posting a 6-6 record at the top spot, including 3-4 against ACC opponents. Nze has partnered with Amanda Granson at No. 1 doubles for most of the ACC season, and the 47th-ranked duo has gone 4-3 in conference play, with all three defeats coming in Duke's losses last week.
Live scoring for Wednesday's match will be available on WakeForestSports.com.
Following their match with Duke, the Deacons will travel to play Boston College on Friday and Maryland on Sunday.
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