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Monday May 10th

UNC men's tennis sweeps through NC State, 4-0, for first ACC road win

<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>
Buy Photos Sophomore Brian Cernoch in a Feb. 1, 2020 game against Illinois. Against N.C. State in Raleigh, Cernoch won both his doubles and singles match to give UNC a 4-0 sweep.

The No. 2 North Carolina men’s tennis team (12-1, 2-0 ACC) won 4-0 against No. 7 N.C. State (10-4, 1-1 ACC) on Wednesday evening, extending its winning streak against the Wolfpack to seven years.

What happened?

UNC got an early edge after winning the doubles point. No. 13 duo senior William Blumberg and sophomore Brian Cernoch took Court One (6-3), defeating No. 17 duo Yannai Barkai and Tadas Babelis, finishing the first match of the game. 

However, on Court Two, No. 4 pair junior Mac Kiger and senior Simon Soendergaard dropped the set, 6-3, to N.C. State’s Robert Turzak and Alexis Galarneau.

Finishing third, duo junior Benjamin Sigouin and first-year Rinky Hijikata took victory on Court Three, (6-3), defeating Collin Shick and Rafa Izquierdo Luque to give UNC its first point of the day. 

In the singles, No. 53 Sigouin added the first point to the team score, defeating No. 92 Babelis in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, extending UNC’s lead 2-0. 

No. 5 Cernoch took the second win for UNC, defeating Martin Rocens 6-4, 6-3, and senior Josh Peck, ranked No. 85, following closely behind to win his match against Izquierdo Luque in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, for a third and final singles point to give UNC the match victory. 

Who stood out?

Despite having a rough match last Sunday against Virginia Tech, Sigouin put his head in the game, winning both his doubles (6-3) and singles (6-3, 6-1). He finished first in his singles against N.C. State’s Tadas Babelis, ranked No. 92.

Cernoch also had a good game on Wednesday, finishing second in his singles (6-4, 6-3).

When was it decided?

Considering N.C. State’s status as the No. 7 team nationally, UNC had to buckle down and push through for the win.

“(N.C. State) has a really good team, we played a complete match, so we have a lot of respect for them and we all performed really well and I’m proud of how we played,” said head coach Sam Paul.

Why does it matter?

The ACC is notorious for being one of the most difficult tennis conferences. The game against the Wolfpack was also a top-10 match-up and one of the major rivalry games of the tennis season. This is also UNC’s first road match for the 2020 Atlantic Coast Conference season.

N.C. State was on a two match winning streak after losing three games in a row at the ITA two weeks ago. The Tar Heels ended the Wolfpack’s winning streak and started their own two match winning streak. Adding to the rivalry, UNC beat N.C. State for the seventh year in a row. The last time the Wolfpack won against the Tar Heels was back in 2013. Perhaps most importantly, the Tar Heels improved their standing to 12-1 for the 2020 season.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will hit the road again on Friday, March 13, to battle University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, at 2:00 p.m.

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

@sarahgraybarr

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