UNC men’s tennis No. 18 five-game winning streak snapped against No. 8 Wake Forest



UNC’s No. 18 men’s tennis team (13-7, 8-3) lost their five-game winning streak with a 4-1 loss to No. 8 Wake Forest (29-5, 10 -1) Saturday afternoon.

What happened?

Saturday’s match at Winston-Salem started with a doubles game. Wake Forest got the first point after winning two of three doubles matches. UNC freshman Casey Kania and second Logan Zapp lost 6-3, and senior Benjamin Sigouin and second Peter Murphy lost in a tight 7-6 game.

North Carolina was able to win one of the doubles matchups with the help of senior No. 8s Brian Cernoch and Mac Kiger, who took a 6-3 victory. Regardless, the two doubles losses saw the Tar Heels play singles 1-0.

Cernoch and Kiger continued to lead the Tar Heels in singles play with little help from their teammates. No. 33 Cernoch picked up a dominating 6-2 victory in his opening set. His doubles partner Kiger also continued to contribute to UNC with a 6-3 victory in his opening set. Zapp, Murphy and Sigouin failed in their first set of singles, just as they had failed in doubles. Junior Anuj Watane also struggled in his first singles set, losing 6-3.

Zapp was the first to finish his singles match, losing in straight sets to give the Deacons their second point. Wake Forest got their third and fourth points when Murphey and Sigouin also lost their matches in the second set. Cernoch fell 6-2 in their second single set, but managed to put the Tar Heels on the scoreboard with a 7-6 victory in the third set.

Despite Kiger’s strong start on Saturday, he struggled in his second singles set and suffered a 6-1 loss. His match went to a third set, but the set was abandoned when any chance of a comeback in North Carolina was lost. Watane’s singles match was also abandoned and Wake Forest finished the match with a 4-1 victory.

Who stood out?

Cernoch and Kiger were the Tar Heels’ biggest contributors on Saturday. The ranked doubles duo won the lone doubles match for UNC, though it didn’t earn the team a spot on the scoreboard.

Cernoch also gave North Carolina its lone point of the day with a narrow three-set singles victory. Kiger was close to winning his singles match as well in his third set, up 4-2, when the match was abandoned. The seniors fought hard for the Tar Heels on Saturday, but that wasn’t enough to secure a win.

When was it decided?

Wake Forest dominated the majority of this game. Although Cernoch and Kiger represented UNC well in doubles, it wasn’t enough to earn the doubles point. The two doubles stars looked like they could turn things around for the Tar Heels in singles, but the North Carolina players struggled to keep up with the Deacons in singles.

Why is it important?

Prior to today’s loss, UNC had won seven of their previous eight matches, including five straight wins. The loss to Wake Forest ended that winning streak at the end of the regular season. The Tar Heels have just one more regular season game at 20th NC State on Sunday. After that, UNC will head to the ACC Championships in Rome, GA.

North Carolina will need to perform better on Sunday in order to end the regular season on a high before the ACC Championships.

When do they play next?

North Carolina will close out the regular season with an ACC game at NC State on Sunday.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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