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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 17 UNC men's tennis defeats Oklahoma State, 4-0, in first match of ITA Kickoff Weekend

The UNC men's tennis team gathers before the game against Oklahoma State at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. UNC beat Oklahoma State 4-0.

The No. 17 North Carolina men’s tennis squad defeated unranked Oklahoma State in UNC's first match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend with a final tally of 4-0.

Who stood out?

First-year Benjamin Kittay and graduate student Brian Cernoch gave the Tar Heels their first doubles victory of the day by handling Oklahoma State 6-4. Two courts down, first-year Will Jansen and graduate student Karl Poling secured the doubles point for North Carolina with a score of 6-4 over the Cowboys. 

On the singles side, sophomore Chris Li dominated his match, besting Oklahoma State’s Carl Roothman 6-1 in the first set and 6-3 in the second. In what proved to be an emotion-filled match, Jansen completed his perfect day by handling his opponent in two sets with scores of 6-3 and 6-2. This victory gave the Tar Heels a 3-0 lead. 

As the remaining single matches were still in progress, it was up in the air who would claim the win for UNC. However, it was none other than No. 9 Ryan Seggerman who clinched the victory for UNC, winning his first set 7-5 and concluding the match with a 6-4 second set.

In addition, the team as a whole demonstrated great serving consistency, which will greatly help the Tar Heels against the Crimson.

What happened?

The Tar Heels found themselves with a 1-0 lead after victories from Kittay/Cernoch and Jansen/Poling in the doubles half of the match. However, the single matches were not so easy for UNC. Li and Jansen’s early singles victories put the Tar Heels in a nice position, but most other players endured closer matches. 

Cernoch, despite playing in the No. 1 spot in today’s match, faced some difficulty against Oklahoma State’s Tyler Zink. Cernoch won the first set 6-3, but dropped the second 1-6. The third set remained close throughout, but it was prematurely ended after Seggerman’s match concluded. Seggerman’s victory caused the Tar Heels to clinch their 4-0 lead and cut all other matches short. 

When was it decided?

UNC's success in the doubles portion of the match gave them a good deal of momentum going into the singles matches. While numerous matches were tight between the Cowboys and Tar Heels, the 3-0 deficit for OSU proved to be difficult to overcome. After Li and Jansen won their matches, it was only a matter of time before another UNC player secured the match victory for the Tar Heels. 

Why does it matter?

This victory clinched the Tar Heels’ spot in the championship match on Sunday. This win can also instill a sense of momentum in the Tar Heels, as they have to go through a gritty Harvard team in order to come out of the weekend triumphant. 

When do they play next?

UNC will face No. 13 Harvard tomorrow in the ITA Kickoff Weekend Championship at 2 p.m. in Chapel Hill.


@dthsports |

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