May 15, 2010

Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics

No. 2 North Carolina got singles wins from No. 54 Katrina Tsang, Sophie Grabinski and Gina Suarez-Malaguti and the Tar Heels advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2007 with a 4-0 victory over UNLV Saturday at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center. UNC will make its fifth all-time appearance in the national round of 16 Thurs., May 20, at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

Carolina (28-4) got on the board first courtesy of doubles victories on courts one and three.

No. 13 Sanaz Marand and Grabinski scored their second win of the weekend at the top position, outlasting No. 62 Kristina Nedeltcheva and Jana Albers, 8-5. The All-America senior duo, which will appear in the NCAA doubles tournament following the completion of the team championship, improved to 11-8 on the spring and registered its fourth win over a ranked opponent.

With Tsang and Shinann Featherston struggling to hold on to an early lead on court two, Jocelyn Ffriend and Zoe De Bruycker got the victory that sealed the point. The duo of Ffriend and De Bruycker, playing together for the second day in a row after not teaming up during the regular season, pulled away from Adrienn Hidvegi and Nives Pavlovic at No. 3, 8-3.

The Tar Heels claimed the first set on five of six courts to open singles play, and Grabinski was first off after her 6-1, 6-3 win over Hidvegi at No. 4. Grabinski, who improved to 21-4 this spring, rallied from a 3-1 hole in the second set and won the final five games of the match to make it 2-0 in favor of UNC.



After grinding out the first set on court two, Tsang hit her stride in the second frame en route to a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Pavlovic. The Raleigh, N.C., senior has played some of the best tennis of her career down the stretch, winning eight of her last nine singles matches to improve to 15-10 in duals.

Suarez-Malaguti then clinched the team victory for the second consecutive day with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Anna Maskaljun on court five. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., freshman is now 14-2 on the spring and has scored a point in all four of Carolina's postseason wins in 2010.

UNLV, which posted its first NCAA victory since 1998 Friday, finished its season with a 22-5 record.

In addition to sending the Tar Heels to Athens, Saturday's win also marked another program milestone. The victory, Carolina's 28th of the spring, tied the school record for wins in a season set by the 1980 team that finished 28-6.

No. 2 North Carolina 4, UNLV 0
1. #13 Marand/Grabinski (UNC) def. #62 Nedeltcheva/Albers (UNLV), 8-5
2. #31 Tsang/Featherston (UNC) vs. Maskaljun/Razina (UNLV), DNF
3. De Bruycker/Ffriend (UNC) def. Hidvegi/Pavlovic (UNLV), 8-3
Order of finish: 1, 3

1. #21 Sanaz Marand (UNC) vs. #45 Kristina Nedeltcheva (UNLV), DNF
2. #54 Katrina Tsang (UNC) def. Nives Pavlovic (UNLV), 6-4, 6-2
3. Jelena Durisic (UNC) vs. #101 Jana Albers (UNLV), DNF
4. Sophie Grabinski (UNC) def. Adrienn Hidvegi (UNLV), 6-1, 6-3
5. Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. Anna Maskaljun (UNLV), 6-2, 6-3
6. Shinann Featherston (UNC) vs. Rumyana Terzieva (UNLV), DNF
Order of finish: 4, 2, 5