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The Daily Tar Heel

Tsang, UNC women's tennis seek revenge for losses

Senior Katrina Tsang leads UNC tennis as the team’s No. 1 player.
Senior Katrina Tsang leads UNC tennis as the team’s No. 1 player.

Senior Katrina Tsang’s motivation for her final season of tennis was admittedly cliché.

A pair of nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat, pressure-cooker losses to your biggest rival tends to produce a familiar response.

“Duke,” Tsang said when asked what her team’s biggest match of the season would be. “Especially since they were national champions last year.”

The narrow defeats changed what Tsang said could have been a “dream” season for the UNC women’s tennis team into a nightmare.

Clemson eventually bounced the Tar Heels from the second round of the NCAA Tournament. As Duke cruised to a championship, the Tar Heels wondered what might have been had a 4-3 decision on April 1 or a 4-2 result in the ACC Tournament gone their way.

And with key starters Austin Smith, Meg Fanjoy and Laura Reichert having exhausted their eligibility, 2010 figured to be a rebuilding year for UNC.

Someone forgot to tell that to this year’s Tar Heels.

North Carolina has blitzed through its January and February opposition, posting an unblemished 7-0 record and shooting up to No. 11 in the ranking.

Along the way, UNC hasn’t had any trouble brushing aside high-quality competition, registering wins against four ranked teams.

The early season hit parade was highlighted by an upset of then-No. 6 Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

The Tar Heels have failed to yield a single doubles point in any of their seven matches so far, and their top singles players have proven more than capable.

Tsang has posted a 4-2 record playing on the No. 1 court, while teammate Sanaz Marand has piled up a perfect 7-0 record playing mostly at No. 2.

Marand is ranked No. 25 in the country, while Tsang is No. 100.

“Katrina and Sanaz are a one-two punch that are as difficult as any in the nation,” coach Brian Kalbas said. “We feel we have the strength at the top and some depth at the bottom to compete with most of all teams.”

Kalbas won’t have to wait very long to find out how well UNC can compete against the best.

North Carolina plays ITA team nationals this weekend, where it will participate in a 16-team tournament against the top teams in the country — including No. 1 Duke.

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