The North Carolina Tar Heels men’s tennis team will take on the Virginia Cavaliers today at 1:00 PM for the NCAA National Championship. This is the first time the men’s tennis team has advanced to the NCAA finals.
To reach the championship match, Carolina knocked off top-seeded Wake Forest in the Elite Eight and tournament host Georgia in the Final Four.
Against Wake Forest, the match was interrupted because of rain. After a nearly five hour delay, the match resumed around 8:00 PM Saturday and did not conclude until midnight.
Before the rain, UNC won the doubles point, then Jack Murray extended the lead to two after his singles win. Here is his match point, via UNC Athletics:
As a reminder, Jack Murray put UNC up 2-0 on this match pt. pic.twitter.com/YKLAnmw1rp— UNC Men's Tennis (@carolinatennis) May 21, 2017
Wake’s Petros Chrysochos defeated Ronnie Schneider, then Skander Mansouri beat Robert Kelly to bring the Deacons even.
In a clash between the top two freshmen in the ACC, Will Blumberg and Borna Gojo went to a tiebreaker, which Blumberg won 8-6 to put UNC back ahead:
On Court 6, Blaine Boyden secured the 4-2 victory for the Tar Heels. Here is the match point:
Raleigh native (Wakefield HS) Boyden's clinching point at exactly 12 am Sunday, 8 hours after the drama began pic.twitter.com/IBFqg9cTc8— UNC Men's Tennis (@carolinatennis) May 21, 2017
On Monday, Carolina took on Georgia on their home court. Once again, rain interrupted the match. Initially outside, the match was finished indoors.
UNC earned the doubles point by defeating the top doubles pair in the nation. Here is the match point from that victory:
UNC 1, UGA 0 Murray holds 7-5 for clinch pic.twitter.com/2YYj80EAda— UNC Men's Tennis (@carolinatennis) May 22, 2017
On Court 2, Blumberg earned the first singles point for UNC, putting the team up 2-0:
UGA’s Walker Duncan defeated Murray on Court 5 to bring the Bulldogs back within one. Kelly won on an ace to put Carolina up 3-1:
UNC 3 UGA 1 RKelly with ace on match pt, 6-3, 6-4 pic.twitter.com/bK7lh2WOnq— UNC Men's Tennis (@carolinatennis) May 22, 2017
Schneider was beat on Court 1 to put the score at 3-2 UNC before rain and lightning delayed the match. Eventually, both Final Four matches were moved indoors.
Indoors, Georgia’s Jan Zielinski defeated Simon Soendergaard to knot the score at three.
Once again, Boyden was the hero as he beat Robert Loeb 6-3 in the third set to advance the Tar Heels to the first National Championship match in program history:
Carolina advances to first NCAA Championship in school history 4-3 indoors in Athens pic.twitter.com/DBst0JlsxA— UNC Men's Tennis (@carolinatennis) May 22, 2017
The Tar Heels will face a familiar foe in #2 Virginia. This will be the fourth match between the two teams this season, with Carolina losing the three previous meetings. In the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in February, UVA beat UNC 4-0 in Charlottesville. During the ACC regular season, the Cavaliers won 4-3 in Charlottesville. In the ACC Tournament, Virginia defeated Carolina 4-3 in the semifinals on their way to an ACC title.
Virginia has won back-to-back national championships, including three of the last four. Five Cavaliers are ranked in the Men's National Singles Oracle/ITA Division I Collegiate Rankings:
- #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski
- #40 Collin Altamirano
- #91 Alexander Ritschard
- #102 Henrik Wiersholm
- #109 JC Aragone
Luca Corinteli is on each of the three ranked doubles pairs for UVA, but will likely play alongside Carl Söderlund today:
- #17 Carl Söderlund and Luca Corinteli
- #38 Luca Corinteli and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski
- #52 Luca Corinteli and Henrik Wiersholm
Tune in at 1:00 PM on ESPNU to catch the live broadcast of the action. However, the forecast is not promising. Rain has been falling all morning here in the Old North State as well as the Peach State. The forecast for Athens, Georgia has rain for much of the afternoon, so follow @NCAATennis for the latest weather and scheduling updates.