CARY, N.C. — The North Carolina women’s tennis team participated in the 2023 Fall Ranked Spotlight, hosted by N.C. State, this weekend at the Cary Tennis Park. All the Tar Heels had successful runs, but were ultimately unable to pull out a victory.
The tournament consisted of 17 teams that were all ranked in the top 50 nationally at the end of last year’s season.
The Tar Heels were represented by No. 19 ranked junior Carson Tanguilig, No. 30 ranked graduate Abbey Forbes, No. 31 ranked senior Anika Yarlagadda and No. 5 ranked sophomore Reese Brantmeier.
Three Tar Heels found success on Thursday in the first-round of the tournament, with Tanguilig, Forbes and Brantmeier all advancing to the second round of the winners bracket. Both Tanguilig and Forbes were forced to play three sets to ultimately keep their run alive. Yarlagadda fell in the first round, forcing her to compete in the consolation bracket for the remainder of the tournament.
The team found less success in the third round on Friday. Only two Tar Heels, Tanguilig and Yarlagadda, advanced to the next portion of their respective brackets. Brantmeier was forced to forfeit the match due to a medical issue, after losing the first set 3-6. Forbes lost in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 0-6, which eliminated her from the tournament.
In the third round, all Tar Heels except Yarlagadda, who was playing in the consolation bracket, were eliminated. Tanguilig lost to her opponent from Texas A&M in two sets, losing 3-6 in each. Yarlagadda was able to keep her run alive, and best her opponent in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
With only one North Carolina player competing in the fourth round, it was up to Yarlagadda to keep the Tar Heels alive. Yarlagadda defeated her opponent in two sets, winning 6-1 in each frame.
In the consolation championship match, Yarlagadda faced No. 5 ranked South Carolina junior Sarah Hamner. Yarlagadda forced a tiebreak in the first set, but ultimately dropped it 6-7. Hamner then was able to dominate the second set, 6-2, and eliminate the final Tar Heel from the bracket.
All Tar Heels except for Yarlagadda made it to the second round of the regular bracket. However, only one player made it to the third round for North Carolina. This performance shows promise that the team can find success without No. 1 ranked senior Fiona Crawley on the court. However, the injury to Brantmeier could be a point of concern for the Tar Heels moving forward.