In its return to the court after winning the ITA National Indoor Championship in early February, the No. 1 UNC women’s tennis team (9-0) defeated both UNC-Charlotte (7-3) and Appalachian State (1-3), 7-0 each, on Tuesday in Chapel Hill.
In a double-header, the Tar Heels first dominated the Charlotte 49ers in the afternoon and then easily defeated Appalachian State in the evening. Over the day, the UNC women only lost one match out of 18, sweeping singles play in both matches and losing one doubles match to Charlotte.
The one loss came via a 6-2 doubles loss to Charlotte sophomores Ruxi Schech and Kaavya Sawhney.. UNC avenged this loss by dominating both players in singles, with redshirt first-year Anika Yarlagadda beating Sawhney 6-1, 6-0 and No. 4 fifth-year Sara Daavettila beating Schech 6-3, 6-0. The combined score of every other match versus Charlotte was 60-13 — clearly a dominant team win.
The day only became more lopsided from there. Against the Mountaineers, the Tar Heels took the doubles point with consecutive wins. Just as they did earlier in the day, the singles matches went entirely towards the Tar Heels. Eight out of 12 of the matches in singles play were 6-0 shutouts. Senior Alle Sanford and first-year Reilly Tran won their respective singles matches without even dropping a game. No. 49 graduate Makenna Jones was the only Tar Heel who came close to dropping a set, winning her first set 7-5 before shutting out her opponent in the second set.
UNC has now moved to 9-0 on the season, halfway to their 18-0 incomplete season of last spring, when its success was abruptly canceled by the emerging pandemic. The team's current dual-match win streak of 27 equals a program record.
Who stood out?
Four Tar Heels, — No. 120 first-year Fiona Crawley, Sanford, Tran and Yarlagadda — won two singles matches on the day.
Including their doubles matches, Crawley, Tran and Yarlagadda won all nine of the matches they played. These three first-years were instrumental in the national championship earlier this month, providing three out of the four points needed to win in that match.
No.3 fifth-year Alexa Graham, along with Jones and Daavettila, also had solid appearances, each winning a singles match. Daavettila and Graham also won their doubles match.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels won both the doubles and singles portions of both matches. Victory was never in doubt for the top-ranked women.
Why does it matter?
Graham and Daavettile both moved to second on UNC’s career singles wins list with 134. Jones’ singles win moved her into a tie for 12th on the same list history with 102 career singles wins. In addition to its 27-straight dual-match wins, the team has also won 38 straight home dual-matches.
When do they play next?
Next up, conference play. Five other teams in the ACC are ranked in the top 25, with Florida State being the next best at No. 6. UNC's first conference match was scheduled to be at Virginia Tech on Feb. 19, but has been postponed due to weather conditions in the area. If weather permits, the Tar Heels will play next at No. 14 Virginia on Sunday, Feb. 21.
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