May 8, 2009

CLEMSON, S.C. --- No. 20 North Carolina got singles wins from No. 21 Sanaz Marand, No. 51 Katrina Tsang and No. 109 Sophie Grabinski to move past No. 46 Georgia State, 4-0, Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship at Clemson's Hoke Sloan Tennis Center. Carolina (19-10) advances to Saturday's second round to face the winner of No. 12 Clemson and Winthrop for a spot in the Sweet 16.

"Obviously we are excited to move on," head coach Brian Kalbas said after the match. "Georgia State is a talented team but I thought we handled things well today. We are looking forward to the challenge tomorrow."

The Tar Heels got started on the right foot with a pair of doubles wins to secure the match's first point. The All-America duo of Marand and Grabinski led the charge at the top position with an 8-1 win over Georgia State's Martina Nitkova and Katerina Gresova. No. 36 Austin Smith and Katrina Tsang then clinched the point with an 8-5 victory over Diana Nakic and Linda Hricistova at No. 2.

Midway through doubles play the match was moved indoors due to inclement weather, and the singles matches would be played inside from start to finish. The change of venue did not deter the Tar Heels, however, as Marand, Tsang and Grabinski delivered a trio of straight-set wins to secure the squad's ninth straight trip to the NCAA second round.

Grabinski was first off at No. 4 singles, dispatching Gresova, 6-2, 6-3. After Tsang's 6-3, 6-2 win over Nitkova made it 3-0 in favor of Carolina, Marand clinched the victory for the Tar Heels. The Katy, Texas, junior took the first set from No. 85 Nakic in short order, 6-1, before outlasting the GSU freshman in the second set, 6-4, punctuating the sealing win with an ace.


"It feels great to win," Marand said after the match. "This has been one of the few that I've clinched and to clinch at the NCAAs feels great."

Jelena Durisic and Laura Reichert were slated to compete at No. 5 and No. 6 singles, respectively, but did not play due to the lack of courts at the indoor facility.

No. 20 North Carolina 4, No. 46 Georgia State 0
Doubles
1. No. 4 Grabinski/Marand (UNC) def. Nitkova/Gresova, 8-1
2. No. 36 Smith/Tsang (UNC) def. Nakic/Hricistova, 8-5
3. Reichert/Meg Fanjoy (UNC) led Kozmina/Powell, 7-5
Order of finish: 1,2

Singles
1. No. 21 Sanaz Marand (UNC) def. No. 85 Diana Nakic, 6-1, 6-4
2. No. 51 Katrina Tsang (UNC) def. Martina Nitkova, 6-3, 6-2
3. No. 103 Austin Smith (UNC) vs. Dariana Kozmina, DNF
4. No. 109 Sophie Grabinski (UNC) def. Katerina Gresova, 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish: 4,2,1