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UNC men's tennis cruises past Louisville in 4-0 win

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First-year Will Jansen competes against Boston College at the Chapel Hill Tennis Club on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023.

The No. 10 North Carolina men’s tennis team (10-4, 3-0 ACC) blanked No. 20 Louisville (9-4, 0-2 ACC), 4-0, on Sunday afternoon in Louisville. 

What happened?

UNC came out of the gates strong once again in doubles play, with the No. 56 ranked pair of first-year Will Jansen and graduate Karl Poling leading the Tar Heels to their first win in a 6-1 blowout on the No. 2 court. The remaining two teams were quick to follow, allowing UNC to gain the doubles point and get off to an early lead. No. 37 ranked graduate Brian Cernoch and first-year Benjamin Kittay put on an impressive showing on court one against the No. 14 ranked team of Fabien Salle and Natan Rodrigues, battling it out before clinching the win in a 7-5 tiebreak.

Singles play was defined by the lower courts for the Tar Heels, with all three securing victories to help the team on its way to the win. On the No. 3 court, Poling was the first to finish, speeding through a dominant second set to attain a 7-5, 6-0 win and put a second point on the board for the Tar Heels in his seventh consecutive triumph. 

On court four, senior Anuj Watane finished directly after, besting his opponent in a 6-2, 6-1 blowout to move the Tar Heels to 3-0. The final point was won by Kittay, who was playing in his first career ACC singles match on court six. After a highly contested first set, which he won in a 7(7)-6(5) tiebreak, he was able to settle in to win the second set comfortably, 6-1. 

The top two court’s matches remained unfinished, although both Cernoch and Jansen were leading in the second set against opponents ranked higher than themselves. 

Who stood out? 

Kittay played an exceptional match in both singles and doubles, winning both to help the Tar Heels take home two points in their winning effort. Kittay and Cernoch beat the No. 14 ranked doubles team, further showing their talent and potential as a pair. In his singles debut for the team, Kittay was able to come away with a win. 

Cernoch, playing against the No. 24 ranked Etienne Donnet, and Jansen, playing against the No. 44 ranked Natan Rodrigues, showed impressive fight throughout the match. They demonstrated their ability to compete with, and win against, some of the top players in collegiate tennis. 

When was it decided?

North Carolina was in control from the start of the match, winning all three doubles matches to get off to an early lead. From there, the Tar Heels continued to dominate, never looking to be seriously challenged by the Cardinals en route to clinching a 4-0 victory. 

Why does it matter?

The win moves the Tar Heels to 3-0 in the ACC, continuing their undefeated record in conference play. The impressive showing demonstrates UNC’s ability to win tough road matches against ranked opponents, which will be something that they will need to continue drawing upon as they prepare to face No. 18 Virginia in Charlottesville.

When do they play next?

North Carolina will take the court at home on Sunday, March 12 to face Wofford. The match is set to begin at 1 p.m.

@PeaceGwen

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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Gwen Peace

Gwen Peace is the 2023-24 assistant sports editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as a senior writer. Gwen is a sophomore pursuing a double major in media and journalism and peace, war and defense.