Elite Eight Bound

Rosca comes back again, beats Duke’s Chen to reach Elite Eight

ORLANDO, Fla. — Again answering an early deficit, No. 43 Christina Rosca came back Tuesday to take down No. 49 Kelly Chen of Duke 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Singles Championship at the USTA National Campus.

With a trip to the quarterfinals, Rosca is the fifth Commodore in program history to reach the Elite Eight. She’s also the fourth Commodore since 2017 to reach the final eight.

Moving on to Wednesday’s action, Rosca will meet No. 1 seed Sara Daavettila of North Carolina with a spot in the national semifinals on the line. First serve is set for 11 a.m. CT.

“This was a really tough match today, and the conditions were tough but I was glad to pull the comeback off and come through,” Rosca said. “It’ll be another really hard match tomorrow against a great player from UNC that I’m pumped for. It’s been so cool seeing all of the support from my coaches, teammates, alums and others, so I’ll look to keep it up tomorrow for them and keep this going.”

Opening Tuesday like her match Monday did, Rosca went down early to Chen. While she battled back to make it a 5-4 first set, Chen closed it out to take the lead into the second set.

Using momentum from taking the first set, Chen opened with a 3-0 lead but Rosca battled back with a break of her own to even things on the way to claiming the set and forcing a decisive third.

In the final frame, Rosca again picked up a break to go up 4-2 and held on to close out the victory.

The win gives Rosca 117 career singles triumphs at Vanderbilt. While unable to reach second place Taka Bertrand’s 124 from 2004-08, Rosca extends her hold on third place all-time.

“What a fantastic college tennis match that was,” head coach Aleke Tsoubanos said. “The hustle, defense, shot-making and consistency from both players was so fun to watch. They have so much respect for one another. It’s a shame somebody had to lose this match. I give Kelly a ton of credit, she played very well and at times the situation looked pretty dire for Chris, especially the way Kelly was serving, which is the best I’ve seen out here.

“But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Christina Rosca in the last five years: you never count her out. She is an absolute fighter and battles until the last point. If you want to win against her, you have to put her out. I’m so proud of her. I can’t wait to see her play another college tennis match Wednesday in the quarterfinals.”

Vanderbilt in the Elite Eight at the NCAA Singles Tournament:
2004 – Audra Falk (reached quarterfinals)
2017 – Sydney Campbell (reached semifinals)
2018 – Astra Sharma (reached quarterfinals)
2018 – Fernanda Contreras (reached semifinals)
2021 – Christina Rosca (into Wednesday’s quarterfinals)