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The Daily Tar Heel

In its third-consecutive top-20 matchup, the No. 3 North Carolina men’s tennis team (7-0) faced off against No. 16 TCU (3-2) on Tuesday evening, winning 4-3 in victorious fashion.

What happened?

In doubles, the Tar Heels swept the Horned Frogs. On court one, the third-ranked duo of sophomore William Blumberg and senior Robert Kelly faced off against the Horned Frogs’ 13th-ranked Alastair Gray and Alex Rybakov. Blumberg and Kelly lost the first game, but then went on to win five in a row. TCU managed to snag the seventh game to make it 5-2 before Blumberg and Kelly sealed the deal, winning 6-2.

On court two, junior Anu Kodali and first-year Ben Sigouin took care of business as well, winning 6-3. Because of the two quick North Carolina victories, the third doubles match on court three ended in a 4-4 draw.

A major switch up happened for the Tar Heels right before singles commenced. Second-ranked Blumberg was replaced by Sigouin on court one to face off against TCU’s Rybakov – the No. 31 ranked singles player in the country. The first set was back and forth with each point, eventually going into a tiebreaker. Sigouin won the tiebreaker 10-8 in dramatic fashion, giving him the first set.

By the time the first set was finished on court one, first-year Mac Kiger had already routed his opponent to the tune of 6-1, 6-2. This gave the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead overall. Shortly after Kiger’s win, junior Blaine Boyden defeated his opponent easily as well, giving UNC a 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile on court two, Kelly took the first set, but then struggled in the second and third, ultimately losing 6-3, 2-6, 1-6. This gave TCU its first point of the match, taking UNC’s lead to 3-1.

Back on court one, Sigouin and Rybakov were continuing their heated battle, capturing the attention of the entire crowd. After a tie score at 5-5 in the second set, Sigouin went on to win two games in a row, giving him a huge victory over his ranked opponent, much to the delight of the crowd and his teammates. Sigouin’s victory also secured the team’s victory as well, giving the Tar Heels their seventh win in a row.

Despite UNC already clinching the win, courts three and four finished out their matches, both of which resulted in TCU victories. These losses gave the match its final score of 4-3 UNC.

Who stood out?

Although there were a few great performances, Sigouin’s victory over the ranked Rybakov was the highlight of the night. The first-year took over for Blumberg on the top court and didn’t disappoint. His victory was as entertaining and exciting as it gets, as seen in his celebration with his teammates after the final point.

When was it decided?

Following the Kiger and Boyden victories, a Tar Heel win seemed imminent. Their wins made the score 3-0, meaning the Horned Frogs would have had to win the remaining four singles matches to defeat the Tar Heels – an unlikely feat.

Why does it matter?

This win puts the Tar Heels at 7-0 for the third season in a row. It also provides a huge momentum boost for UNC as the team heads to Seattle next week for team indoor ITAs.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will compete next in the ITA Team Indoor Championship from Feb. 16 to Feb.19 in Seattle, Washington. 


@DTHSports |

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