The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday May 31st

Men's tennis aces tough test against gritty Louisville squad with decisive 6-1 win

<p>Junior Blaine Boyden competes against Wake Forest on March 28 at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.</p>
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Junior Blaine Boyden competes against Wake Forest on March 28 at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.

The No. 5 North Carolina men’s tennis team defeated unranked Louisville on Friday afternoon to earn its sixth win in the last seven contests.

What happened?

UNC (15-4, 6-1 ACC) started out strong after taking the first point in the doubles matches against the Cardinals (14-7, 4-4 ACC). Benjamin Sigouin and Blaine Boyden finished first on Court Two with a strong 6-2 win over Louisville’s Federico Gomez and Ciro Lampasas. The No. 4 pair Robert Kelly and William Blumberg clinched the point for the Tar Heels with a close, 7-5 win, over No. 17 duo Parker Wynn and Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff. 

All throughout the singles contests, both teams struggled to find momentum and the matches were stopped twice because of rain. North Carolina eventually took the team win after several gritty matches. The match between Boyden and Nicolas Rouanet was notable for its very long volleys and a tight first set. Boyden eventually emerged victorious, 7-5, 6-2. 

Who stood out?

First-year Mac Kiger started strong against Clement Filho, winning the first set 6-4 and cruising in the second set to a 6-1 win. Kiger's win gave the Tar Heels their first singles point of the day. No. 29 Benjamin Sigouin got shutout in his first set of singles to Wynn, but fought back to eventually take the match in the next two sets, 7-6(7-4), 1-0(10-5). The match was highlighted by the third-set tiebreaker. No. 2 Blumberg continued his season long dominance, defeating Morin-Kougoucheff in two sets, 6-3, 6-4, to maintain his place near the top of the NCAA leaderboards.

When was it decided?

Kelly won the deciding point for North Carolina after a heated match with Federico Gomez that saw both players arguing with the referee and their respective coaches. Frustrations bubbled up for Kelly and the loud cheers from members of the Louisville team seemed to distract him. He pulled away however, winning both sets, 6-4, 6-4. 

Why does it matter?

UNC proved it can overcome adverse weather conditions as well as win a tough match against a scrappy opponent. The Tar Heels have now won six of their past seven matches, and are 15-4 on the season. North Carolina only plays five more times this season before the start of the ACC tournament and the team looks to finish strong heading into tournament play.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels next face off against a struggling Boston College (7-9, 0-7 ACC) squad on Sunday, April 8 at 12 p.m. in Chestnut Hill, Mass.


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