ROME, Ga. – Freshman Luca Fabian clinched No. 8 Georgia Tech’s spot in the ACC Championship match as the Yellow Jacket came out on top of a three-set battle Saturday afternoon, sealing a 4-2 Tech win over No. 12 Duke. The third-seeded Jackets (25-3) will make their sixth appearance in the ACC Championship match since 1986 on Sunday, facing top-seeded North Carolina at 2 p.m.
DOUBLES ACTION: The Jackets rolled through doubles play, taking courts two and three in 6-3 victories to seal a 1-0 lead entering singles play. Tech’s duo of Nami Otsuka/Luca Fabian worked fast and finished first, defeating Duke’s Rebecca Smaller/Ellyse Hamlin, 6-3, on court three. Battling on court two, the 23rd-ranked Tech tandem of Rasheeda McAdoo/Johnnise Renaud clinched the doubles point for the Jackets, edging Alyssa Smith/Chalena Scholl, 6-3, to put Tech in the lead heading into singles action.
SINGLES PLAY: Leading 1-0 entering singles play, Tech would need three singles victories to clinch a spot in the title match, but the Blue Devils would not make it easy. After trailing early in the first set, Duke’s No. 53 Scholl evened the score at 1-1 with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over No. 84 Paige Hourigan on court three. The Blue Devils grabbed their first and only lead of the match when No. 99 Kaitlyn McCarthy picked up a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Kenya Jones on court four, putting Duke in the lead 2-1.
Tech would quickly erase is deficit and take the next three courts to finish and clinch the match. Winning handedly on court two, No. 58 Renaud cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over No. 40 Meible Chi to even the match at 2-2. Competing at the top spot, No. 50 McAdoo returned the advantage to Tech, defeating No. 76 Samantha Harris in straight sets, 7-6 (3), 6-2, setting up a 3-2 match score.
The decision was left to be decided on either court five or six where both matches were in a third set and Fabian put the Jackets over the top on court six for the win. After winning her first set 6-3 over Ellyse Hamlin, the Blue Devil took the next set 6-0 to force a deciding third set. Fabian and Hamlin stood tied at 2-2 in the early going before the Jacket won the next four of five games to seal the victory for Tech.
QUOTABLE: “I thought we played a good match today and got started well with doubles. Duke is very tough and we know it’s going to be a battle every time we play. We knew we had to come out and compete as hard as we could, continue to be aggressive and play disciplined. We knew it was going to be tight, but we hoped we could get our nose over the finish line this time. We were fortunate to get four on the board today and now we will get ready for tomorrow.” – Head Coach Rodney Harmon
UP NEXT: Georgia Tech will compete for the ACC Championship on Sunday against top-seed and fifth-ranked North Carolina at 2 p.m. The match will be available on the ACC Network Extra and WatchESPN app. Tech defeated UNC in the regular season, 4-3, in Chapel Hill.
No. 8 Georgia Tech vs. No. 12 Duke
Match Score: No. 8 Georgia Tech 4, No. 12 Duke 2
1. No. 39 Paige Hourigan/Kenya Jones (GT) vs. No. 55 Kaitlyn McCarthy/Meible Chi (DU) 2-4, DNF
2. No. 22 Rasheeda McAdoo/Johnnise Renaud (GT) def. Alyssa Smith/Chalena Scholl (DU) 6-3
3. Nami Otsuka/Luca Fabian (GT) def. Rebecca Smaller/Ellyse Hamlin (DU) 6-3
Order of finish: 3,2
Point: Georgia Tech
1. No. 50 Rasheeda McAdoo (GT) def. No. 76 Samantha Harris (DU) 7-6 (3), 6-2
2. No. 58 Johnnise Renaud (GT) vs. No. 40 Meible Chi (DU) 6-1, 6-4
3. No. 53 Chalena Scholl (DU) def. No. 84 Paige Hourigan (GT) 7-5, 6-0
4. No. 99 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def. Kenya Jones (GT) 6-3, 6-3
5. Nami Otsuka (GT) vs. Alyssa Smith (DU) 7-5, 4-6, 4-1, DNF
6. Luca Fabian (GT) def. Ellyse Hamlin (DU) 6-, 0-6, 6-2
Order of finish: 3,4,2,1,6