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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's tennis leaves ITA All-American Championships empty-handed

Makenna Jones Duke

Sophomore Makenna Jones returns a serve against Duke on April 20  at the Ambler Tennis Center in Durham.

The UNC women's tennis team entered the main draw of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships prepared to compete at the highest level of play, but failed to come away with any individual titles.

What happened?

Two juniors from the UNC women’s tennis team qualified to compete in the singles main draw of the Championships: top-seed Makenna Jones and Alexa Graham. 

Graham defeated the eighth-seed, Stanford’s Michaela Gordon, in the first round of the draw. After losing the first set 6-0, Graham was able to come back and defeat Gordon in three sets, advancing to the second round. 

Graham faced first-year Maria Mateas of Duke in the second round, but fell in two sets.

Makenna Jones, the first seed of the draw and No. 2 player in the country, played her way to the semifinals of the tournament before facing the same fate against Mateas. First-year Mateas is the top-ranked newcomer according to Oracle/ITA rankings. Jones had a strong run in the earlier rounds of the tournament, including a quick defeat of seventh-seed Katarina Jokic of Georgia, 6-2, 6-2.

Sophomore Alle Sanford and junior Sara Daavettila also reached the semifinals of the doubles backdraw. 

Who stood out?

Jones and Graham's performances in singles set them apart. Jones’ exceptional run to the semifinals also emphasized her role on the team, and as a top player.

Graham’s play in the pre-qualifying and qualifying rounds to advance to the singles main draw demonstrated her abilities and growth recently. She was also able to defeat Texas' Anna Turati, the top seed of the qualifying draw.

Why does it matter?

Jones had a lot to prove as the No. 2 player in the nation, and her semifinals run supports her standing. Her ability to play at such a high level against top-ranked players helps to set the stage for the rest of the season.

The competition at this tournament is extremely high and gave all of the women representing UNC a chance to exhibit their skills while gearing up for the remainder of the season ahead of them. 

Where do they play next?

The Tar Heels will head home to Chapel Hill to compete in the ITA Regional Championships beginning on Oct. 18. 


@DTHSports |

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