CLAREMONT, Calif. – Senior Eudice Chong and junior Victoria Yu of the No. 5-ranked Wesleyan University women's tennis team each won quarterfinal and semifinal-round singles matches on Friday in Claremont, Calif., as the NCAA Division III Singles Championship match will be an all-Wesleyan affair for the first-time ever on Saturday at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center.
Chong, the three-time defending national champion and No. 1 seed, was clicking on all cylinders, winning both of her matches in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, she topped Middlebury's Heather Boehm 6-2, 6-1, and in the semifinals, she defeated Juli Raventos - the only player in Division III history to have beaten her in singles - 6-1, 6-1, to book her spot in the final.
Yu's quarterfinal opponent was a familiar one, as she took on Middlebury's Katherine Hughes for the fourth time this spring and second time this week, after facing off in the team quarterfinal match on Monday. The Wesleyan junior played consistent tennis, cruising to a 6-2, 6-3 win to stay unbeaten against Hughes.
In the semifinals, the unseeded Yu matched up against Catherine Allen of newly-crowned, national-champion and tournament-host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Yu was in control for the first set and a half, getting out to a 6-4, 2-0 lead with game points to go up 3-0 in the second set. Allen battled back and made a push at the end of the second set to tie things up and send the match to a third. Both players were battling a combination of fatigue and nerves, and it was Allen who looked to be in position to win, up a break 4-2. But from that point forward, Yu found another gear and reeled off four straight games to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, and set up the historic final tomorrow.
"I knew (Allen) was tired too, and that if I could just keep fighting then hopefully I would come out on top," Yu said. "I am excited to make my first final. It would be a lie if I said I was excited to play Eudice, but hopefully it will be a really good match."
Chong added, "I'm not treating it any differently, but I am going to enjoy myself more. It is going to be a lot of fun playing such a close friend."
- Chong and Yu will be back on the court on Friday, as the two athletes team up for the NCAA Doubles Championships where they are the defending champions. The duo is set to face Nithya Kanagasegar and Madeleine Paolucci of Case Western Reserve University in the quarterfinal.
-- Recap by Ben Shapiro --