INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – As defending NCAA and ITA Division III National Champions, Eudice Chong '18 and Victoria Yu '19 are a known entity with their usual competition. Today, they announced themselves to the rest of college tennis with straight sets win over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the opening round of the ITA Fall National Championships.
Chong and Yu were the only doubles pairing in the 32-team draw that was not from a Division I school, and in their opening round, they were pitted against Alexa Graham and Jessie Aney, the sixth seeds from UNC. The Wesleyan duo raced out to a 5-0 lead thanks to some clutch play on no-ad deuce points. The Tar Heels crept back into the set, but Chong and Yu shut the door in time, wrapping it up 6-3.
The second set was closer throughout, and a key break of serve from Wesleyan at 4-3 made the difference. Serving at 5-3 with a chance to pull the upset, Chong and Yu handled the moment with impressive poise, closing out the match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Their UNC opponents came in with an impressive record themselves, having won the ITA Carolina Regional Championship to qualify for the event. Aney was an ITA All-American and All-ACC selection last season, and finished the year ranked fifth in Division I for doubles. Graham was named Third Team All-ACC last season and has been ranked as high as 475 in the world in the WTA rankings.
Chong also competed in singles and was the only player in the draw from a Division III school. She faced Julia O'Loughlin of the University of Denver in what turned out to be a marathon match. Chong was in control at the start, cruising to a 6-3 first set victory. In the second, O'Loughlin—a 2017 ITA All-American and All-Summit League selection—responded well, going up 5-2. Chong fought back, however, and the two would go back and forth in a critical second set tiebreaker. Though Chong saved multiple set points, eventually O'Loughlin evened the match, taking the tiebreaker 9-7. In the third, little separated the two, but in the end it was O'Loughlin who prevailed, winning some key deuce points to finish the match as a 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 winner.
Day Two will start with Chong's consolation singles match, which is scheduled to begin not before 11 a.m. Eastern. Later in the day, Yu and Chong will be back on the doubles court for their Round of 16 matchup against Akvile Parazinskaite and Mami Adachi from the University of Kentucky. Adachi is a two-time ITA All-American and, with a different partner, won this tournament last year.