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Monday October 25th

UNC men's tennis dominates Gamecocks and Illinois to continue undefeated spring season

<p>UNC sophomore Brian Cernoch hits the ball during a singles match against Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center. UNC beat Illinois 4-0.</p>
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UNC sophomore Brian Cernoch hits the ball during a singles match against Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center. UNC beat Illinois 4-0.

The North Carolina men’s tennis team continued its perfect start to the spring season this weekend, going undefeated and outscoring its opponents 8-0 over Saturday and Sunday. 

The Tar Heels faced a serious challenge to keep that perfect record going when two top-20 teams, Illinois and South Carolina, came to Chapel Hill over the weekend. But UNC would not be phased, sweeping both the Fighting Illini and the Gamecocks to earn a 6-0 record so far this season, having outscored its opponents by a combined score of 30-0 since the Alabama Spring Shootout. 

“This was our first big test," senior William Blumberg said. "The teams we played in the past were good, but these teams were kind of a level up. It was good for us to step up and show up when we really needed to.”

The Tar Heels’ highlights of the weekend came in singles play against South Carolina. Blumberg defeated defending NCAA champion Paul Jubb in straight sets, taking the first set 6-3 and the second set 6-4.

Against Illinois, North Carolina commanded the match from the start. UNC picked up its first win in doubles after the No. 7 team of Mac Kiger and Simon Soendergaard defeated their opponents 6-4. The Tar Heels clinched the doubles point after the combination of Brian Cernoch and Blumberg also won 6-4. 

North Carolina’s first win in singles came from Josh Peck, who won his first two sets 6-2 and 6-0, respectively. Blumberg gave the Tar Heels their second victory, defeating his opponent in two sets, both by a score of 6-2. The winning point for UNC against the Fighting Illini came from Cernoch, who also needed only two sets to win his match, topping his opponent 6-1 in the first set and 7-5 in the second. 

The duo of Sigouin and Rinky Hijikata made quick work of their doubles match against the Gamecocks, taking a 6-1 victory. Kiger and Soendergaard then clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 win. 

“It was a great team effort by everyone, everyone came out firing," Sigouin said. "They’re obviously a good team, there’s no reason to sleep on them. I’m proud of everybody.”

Sigouin clinched Sunday's winning point for UNC with an impressive win over No. 21 Daniel Rodrigues, winning in the first set 6-3 and the second set 6-2. Cernoch picked up the second win in singles for North Carolina, beating his opponent 6-2 in both sets. 

“We’re a really close team," Sigouin said. "And we all believe in each other. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters.”

And after Sunday's win over South Carolina, head coach Sam Paul briefly summed up how impressed he was with his team's performance: “Tremendous weekend for us.”

@emilythoreson

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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