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UNC tennis: Both teams advance in NCAA Tournament

Both sets of Tar Heel players had success in the postseason this weekend.

2010 Australian Open - Day 8 Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

After both tennis teams received top eight seeds in the NCAA Tournaments, both went on to have good weekends and win early round matches at home.

The women’s team won their opening round on Friday 4-0 over Morgan State without dropping a set.

Their three doubles teams lost a combined four games across three matches to win the doubles point fairly easily. Marika Akkerman, Chloe Ouellet-Pizer, and Jessie Aney then wrapped up their three singles matches relatively quickly to complete a clean sweep of the Bears. All three Tar Heels also led their respective singles matches when the victory was completed. Akkerman and Aney both picked up two wins across singles and doubles, while Alexa Graham had a win in doubles, and was on the verge of another in singles when the Tar Heels finished off the win.

They followed that up on Saturday with another sweep, this time knocking off Mississippi State.

Saturday played out relatively similarly, albeit with a bit more pushback. The doubles teams of Aney/Graham and Akkermann/Makenna Jones both won their doubles matches fairly handily to clinch the doubles point for the Tar Heels.

In the singles, Graham, Alle Sanford, and the nation’s #2 singles player Jones, all won in straight sets to clinch the win and advance the Tar Heels, but the Bulldogs kept the other three singles points all close. UNC players trailed in two of the other singles matches, while the third was on the verge of going to a third set. However, the other three won drama-free, and considering the college tennis format, that was all it took.

Their next opponent will be the Stanford Cardinal, who similarly swept through St. John’s and Michigan. Despite being lower seeded, Stanford matches up pretty decently against UNC. The Cardinal have six singles players ranked in the top 125, and two doubles teams ranked in the top 90. UNC may be the #2 overall seed, but their next round is no cakewalk.

On the men’s side, it was a similar success story in the Tar Heels’ opening round.

The UNC men swept Campbell 4-0, advancing to the round of 32. Two of the Tar Heels’ three doubles teams won their matches 6-4 to quickly wrap up that point.

The #3 ranked singles player in the country, William Blumberg, then got a second point for UNC winning his match 6-0 6-2. After that, Simon Soendergaard and Blaine Boyden wrapped up straight set wins to clinch the win and a clean sweep over the Camels. The three winning singles players for the Tar Heels lost only 11 games across six sets.

Next up for UNC is Tennessee on Sunday morning. The Volunteers did not get a national seed in the tournament but are ranked #20 in the county. Blumberg will likely match up with Timo Stodder, who comes in as the 16th ranked singles player in the country. The Tar Heels should have an edge in the rest of the singles matches as no other Volunteers is in the top 125. It’s a similar story in doubles, where Tennessee has one team in the top 10, but then no others inside 90.

There are still several rounds to go before either team is close to playing for a national title, but both teams have put in some good showings so far.