The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday February 3rd

UNC men's tennis loses close 4-3 match on the road against Wake Forest

The No. 5 North Carolina men’s tennis team lost a tightly-contested match, 4-3, to No. 2 Wake Forest, at the Wake Forest Tennis Center. This was the Tar Heels (13-2, 1-1 ACC) third straight loss to the Demon Deacons (12-1, 1-0 ACC), all by the same 4-3 score.

What happened?

The scheduled outdoor match was moved inside due to the windy conditions. It did not have an effect on Wake Forest, however, as they gained an early advantage on UNC. 

Junior Robert Kelly and first-year William Blumberg, the No. 17 doubles team in the country, had a tough challenge going against the No. 2 team of Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim. Kelly and Blumberg went down a break early, and never we’re able to climb back, dropping their match 6-3. 

Senior Jack Murray and first-year Simon Soendergaard were locked in a tight set on court two when senior Ronnie Schneider and sophomore Anu Kodali dropped their match 6-3, giving the Demon Deacons the doubles point and a 1-0 advantage.

That momentum continued into singles as Wake Forest took five of six opening sets. The only Tar Heel who was successful to start his match was No. 61 Blumberg, who took the first set 6-3 against No. 5 Mansouri. The deficit would quickly double for UNC as Soendergaard lost in straight sets to Borna Gojo 6-1, 6-3. The two teams would then trade off points as Blumberg closed out his match in straight sets, and Murray lost his match in the same fashion.

Who stood out?

Blumberg’s convincing victory over No. 5 Mansouri was his first victory over a top-20 opponent in his career. This victory was his best performance to date, and showed why he was the No. 1 recruit in high school. To dismantle such a highly ranked opponent is evidence that he is getting comfortable with his game and is adapting well to playing high-quality opponents on a match-to-match basis. If he can continue to build off of the momentum of this win, he could become a major asset for the team as they continue into conference play.

When was it decided?

After No. 19 Schneider lost the first set tiebreaker, 8-6, to No. 2 Petros Chrysochos, the senior was able to take the second set 6-4. However, when the third set began Chrysochos lived up to his ranking, and while playing what Schneider called “some of the best tennis I’ve seen,” closed out the set and match with a 6-0 victory.

The other two matches, which were headed to third sets, were allowed to finish. Kelly won a third-set tiebreaker to defeat No. 37 Seraphim. Sophomore Blaine Boyden also won a third-set tiebreaker to extend his dual-match record to 11-0.

Why does it matter?

This was UNC’s second loss of the season, and both have been to teams currently ranked inside the top three in the nation. However, the score was much closer on Friday then when the team lost 4-0 to Virginia last month. 

The Tar Heels showed that they can compete with a team that they will probably see again either in the ACC tournament or NCAA tournament. If UNC can find continuity with all three of their doubles teams, and get all of them playing up to their capability, it could be a different story if they see Wake Forest again.

Where do they play next?

UNC will be back at home on Wednesday to take on North Carolina State at 3 p.m.

@CPhillips2020

sports@dailytarheel.com

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