April 22, 2016
Durham, N.C. – Third-ranked North Carolina won three singles matches in straight sets after squeezing out the doubles point and shut out Georgia Tech, 4-0, Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Tennis Championship. The match was moved to Duke’s Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center due to inclement weather.
The fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets (16-8) were eliminated and now will wait until May 2 to find out if they receive a bid to the NCAA Championship. The third-ranked Tar Heels (25-3) advanced to face the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal contest between Florida State and Virginia Tech in one semifinal match scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.
Several other matches in both the men’s and women’s championships, which are both being played at the Cary (N.C.) Tennis Center, were moved to alternate indoor sites Friday. In other men’s quarterfinal matches, top-seeded Virginia downed NC State, 4-1, advancing to face No. 2 Wake Forest, a 4-3 winner over Notre Dame, in Saturday’s other semifinal, also at 2 p.m.
North Carolina got on the board by winning the doubles point in a tiebreaker on court 3, where Ronnie Schnieder and Anu Kodali edged Nathan Rakitt and Andrew Li, 7-6. Tech had put itself in position for a different outcome after Christopher Eubanks and Carlos Benito upended the 32nd-ranked team of Brayden Schnur and Jack Murray on court 2. The Jackets, who had won the doubles point against Carolina in their regular-season meeting a week earlier, lost the point for only the fifth time in 24 matches this spring.
From there, the Tar Heels cruised, getting a 6-2, 6-2 win from 49th-ranked Brett Clark over Cole Fiegel on court 3, a 6-4, 6-1 win from No. 114 Jack Murray over Rakitt on court 5, and 7-5, 6-4 victory from No. 100 Robert Kelly over Daniel Yun on court 4 to clinch the match.
Eubanks, ranked seventh in the nation, was the only Tech player to win his first set in singles, but Schnur, ranked No. 31, forced him to a third set, and their match was left unfinished.
HEAD COACH Kenny Thorne SAYS – “The doubles point is key in these matches when you’re playing a top-5 team in the nation. You like to win that and throw some doubt in their minds. Some good tennis was played all the way to the last point at No. 3. We went all out, and they just outplayed us, and then they kept the momentum by winning five first sets in singles. We played them tough a week ago, but they came in here and outplayed us.”
TECH’S ACC CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has never won an Atlantic Coast Conference championship in men’s tennis, though several Yellow Jackets have individual titles to their credit from an era when individual championships were crowned. Tech has reached the finals four times, two of those under head coach Kenny Thorne in 1999 and 2002. The Jackets also reached the championship match in Thorne’s senior year at Tech (1988) and again in 1994.
#3 North Carolina 4, #30 Georgia Tech 0
Apr 22, 2016 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)
ACC Championship quarterfinal
1. #31 Brayden Schnur (NC) vs. #7 Christopher Eubanks (GT) 3-6, 6-3, 2-4, unfinished
2. #30 Ronnie Schneider (NC) vs. #112 Carlos Benito (GT) 6-4, 4-5, unfinished
3. #49 Brett Clark (NC) def. Cole Fiegel (GT) 6-2, 6-2
4. #100 Robert Kelly (NC) def. Daniel Yun (GT) 7-5, 6-4
5. #114 Jack Murray (NC) def. Nathan Rakitt (GT) 6-4, 6-1
6. Anudeep Kodali (NC) vs. Michael Kay (GT) 6-3, 6-5, unfinished
1. #3 Brett Clark/Robert Kelly (NC) def. #33 Michael Kay/Casey Kay (GT) 6-2
2. Christopher Eubanks/Carlos Benito (GT) def. #32 Brayden Schnur/Jack Murray (NC) 6-4
3. Ronnie Schneider/Anudeep Kodali (NC) def. Nathan Rakitt/Andrew Li (GT) 7-6 (7-5)
Georgia Tech 16-7; National ranking #30
North Carolina 25-3; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,5,4)
Moved from Cary Tennis Park to Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center (Durham, N.C.) due to rain