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Thursday January 21st

Kiger and Soendergaard highlight weekend for UNC men's tennis

<p>Sophomore Simon Soendergaard celebrates during an Sunday, April 1, 2018 match against Virginia at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.</p>
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Sophomore Simon Soendergaard celebrates during an Sunday, April 1, 2018 match against Virginia at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.

The North Carolina men's tennis team wrapped up their fall schedule with the 2019 ITA Oracle Fall National Championships in Newport Beach, California and at the Wake Forest Fall Invitational this weekend. 

What happened?

Junior Mac Kiger and senior Simon Soendergaard earned invitations to the ITA Fall Nationals after winning the ITA Regional title. Senior Josh Peck was also invited after reaching the semifinal of the ITA Regional and is ranked No. 50 in the ITA rankings. 

Kiger and Soendergaard opened the tournament on Wednesday by upsetting the No. 1 seed of the event, Columbia's Jack Lin and Jackie Tang, who won the ITA Fall All-American Championship last month. 

The Tar Heels dropped the first set 6-7, but rallied in the final sets to win 6-3 and 1-0 and advance to the second round of the tournament on Thursday. 

In the second round, Kiger and Soendergaard came up against Memphis's David Stevenson and Oscar Cutting, who they defeated in three sets. They won the first set 6-4, dropped the second set 3-6, and won the third by 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the event on Friday. 

In their quarterfinal matchup, Kiger and Soendergaard faced Ryan Dickerson and Matias Soto of Baylor, who they defeated in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the semifinals on Saturday.

Waiting for Kiger and Soendergaard in their semifinal matchup was the eighth seed of Robert Cash and John McNally of Ohio State. There, the Tar Heels were knocked out of the tournament, dropping in three sets 4-6, 6-0 and 1-0. 

In singles, Peck lost his first match in the singles bracket to No. 44 Sven Lah of Baylor 6-3, 6-3. He then faced Mississippi State's Gregor Ramskogler in the consolation draw, where he fell 6-2, 5-7, 7-6. 

Back in North Carolina, two Tar Heels competed in the Wake Forest Fall Invitational. Ladd Harrison and Mark Dillon competed in the singles bracket and competed together in the doubles bracket. 

Harrison reached the final of his singles bracket, defeating Richmond's John Walsh, Radford's Rodrigo Magalhaes, and Mercer's Hugo Lobo in route to the final where he faced Coastal's Daiki Tanabe. Ladd was swept in two sets, losing 7-5, 6-4.   

In Dillon's first singles match, he faced Wofford's Bryce Keim, which he fell 6-3, 6-4. 

In their first matchup in the doubles bracket, Harrison and Dillon lost 6-4 by Tennessee Tech University. 

Who stood out?

Kiger and Soendergaard's upset of the top-seeded doubles team at the ITA Fall Nationals was the Tar Heels' most impressive performance of the weekend, as well as their run to the semifinals. 

Why does it matter?

Kiger and Soendergaard's loss in the semifinals came at the hands of Ohio State. The Tar Heels defeated the Buckeyes last season in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, when the Buckeyes held the No. 1 ranking. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will be back in action in January to begin their spring indoor schedule. 

@emilythoreson

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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