The North Carolina men’s tennis team concluded play at the ITA Men’s All-American Championships on Friday, Oct. 11, with sophomore Brian Cernoch advancing as far as the singles consolation quarterfinals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The action started on Saturday, Oct. 5 for North Carolina when senior Ladd Harrison lost in the pre-qualifying round, 3-6, 6-4 and 3-6.
Senior Simon Soendergaard won his first-round qualifying matchup on Monday with decisions of 6-3 and 6-3, advancing to Tuesday’s second round. Junior Mac Kiger dropped his first-round qualifier, 6-1 and 6-3.
North Carolina rebounded on Tuesday, led by Soendergaard as he advanced to the final round of qualifiers, 7-6(2), 6-7(4) and 6-1. Soendergaard pushed into the main draw after another clutch match, 6-3, 0-6 and 6-4. Teaming with Kiger in doubles competition, the duo swept Baylor in the qualifying round with wins of 6-3 and 6-1.
On Wednesday, North Carolina had senior Josh Peck, Soendergaard and Cernoch all in singles competition. Peck advanced to the second round on scores of 6-4 and 7-5, but Cernoch lost 6-3, 7-5, while Soendergaard lost 6-4 and 6-3. In doubles competition, Kiger and Soendergaard dropped their round with consecutive defeats, 6-2 and 6-3.
Peck lost in the second round on Thursday, 3-6, 6-4 and 0-6. In the consolation bracket, Cernoch advanced in the singles competition round of 32. In the doubles consolation bracket Kiger and Soendergaard won 6-0 and 6-4 in their match.
The event concluded for North Carolina on Friday. Cernoch advanced to the consolation quarterfinals with victories of 6-4 and 6-3 in his round. But Cernoch fell in the quarterfinals, 1-6, 6-4, 3-6. In the doubles consolation quarterfinals the duo of Kiger and Soendergaard also lost.
Who stood out?
Soendergaard went 3-0 in competition on Tuesday as he won both of his singles matches in the qualifying rounds to qualify for the main draw of singles competition. The senior later teamed with Kiger to win their double match to qualify for the main draw in doubles competition as well.
In the consolation singles bracket Cernoch pushed through the round of 32 and advanced to the quarterfinals before being defeated.
When was it decided?
After the first few days of competition, North Carolina had a huge momentum swing on Tuesday that UNC could carry into Wednesday. By the end of Tuesday, North Carolina placed three men in the main draw of the singles bracket and a duo in the main draw for doubles competition.
Why does it matter?
On Wednesday, North Carolina was the only Atlantic Coast Conference school with multiple players in the singles draw and one of eight teams in the nation with three players in the main draw as Soendergaard, Peck and Cernoch all took part.
Moving forward, this solid performance in an early tournament could set the tempo for the Tar Heels.
Where do they play next?
North Carolina has a short two-day rest period before heading to Waco, Texas for the Waco Futures. The event will start on Monday, Oct. 14 and lasts through Sunday, Oct. 20.
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