The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday January 18th

UNC Faces Uphill Battle At ITA Championships

It won't be all strawberries and cream for the North Carolina men's tennis team this week.

Even with the home-court advantage. UNC heads into this week's Intercollegiate Tennis Association's South Atlantic Regional Indoor Championships without a Tar Heel seeded in either the singles or doubles brackets.

But this isn't a cause for concern for UNC coach Sam Paul.

"I don't put much stock into seeds," Paul said. "They could use whatever records from the past to determine who is seeded here, so it isn't a clean-cut process."

Sponsored by Top of the Hill restaurant, the ITA Championships event has been a staple tournament of Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center since the facility's inception in 1993.

UNC's David Cheatwood, Marcio Petrone and Trystan Meniane have all earned spots in the 64-player singles draw. In the 32-team doubles bracket, automatic bids were given to the tandems of Cheatwood and Greg Archer and Petrone and Nicholas Monroe.

Paul and his Tar Heels hope to add to their tournament entries in today's qualifying rounds. Chad Riley, Max Hilkey, Monroe and Archer will look to gain one of eight spots into the main bracket. Meniane and Riley will team up to try to qualify in doubles.

"We're just looking for some good improvement," Paul said. "We're a young team working hard this fall to meet high expectations this spring."

The hard work may pay off at home for the Tar Heels, who will be facing some of the most talented college tennis players from across the country.

Paul knows that conditioning will be a factor as well as his team heads into such stiff competition. Especially when many of his players will be in both singles and doubles action.

"A lot of the top-ranked players in the country will be in this tournament," Paul said. "Hopefully a lot of fans will come out to see some great tennis."

This year should be no different with more than 25 schools being represented this week. Although it is an individual event, the Tar Heels can also look to get a good scouting report of the ACC. The conference will showcase all nine of its member schools in the tournament.

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