THE FLATS – Freshman Alejandra Cruz took home a straight-set victory against a top-20 opponent on Friday, but Georgia Tech dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 1 North Carolina in a three-hour battle. The loss moved Tech to 7-5 overall and 2-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
It took an hour to decide the doubles point that came down to the final point as Georgia Tech pushed UNC to the brink. The Yellow Jackets jumped out with momentum on the top two courts as Kylie Bilchev and Cruz took a 3-1 lead over No. 3 Fiona Crawley and Carson Tanguilig on court two. Meanwhile, teammates Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura opened with a 3-0 lead over UNC’s No. 15 Reese Brantmeier and Elizabeth Scotty on court one. Bilchev and Cruz pushed their lead out to 5-1 and pocketed the win on court two, 6-2, to hand Crawley and Tanguilig only their second loss in conference play.
Court three wrapped up second as Monika Dedaj and Rosie Garcia Gross erased a 4-0 deficit to Abbey Forbes and Reilly Tran, knotting the match at 4-all. But UNC ended the rally, winning the next two games for a 6-4 win, evening doubles at one-apiece.
All eyes turned to the battle on court one where UNC rallied back to 4-4 against Lee and Sharabura. Knotted at 5-all, the Tar Heels took a 6-5 lead, but the Yellow Jackets won the next game to force a tiebreak at 6-6. The Jackets jumped out with a 4-1 lead in the breaker before UNC crawled back to 4-4. Tech fought off match point at 6-5, but couldn’t overcome UNC, falling 8-6 in the tiebreak.
UNC took a 2-0 lead with a win on court five before Cruz put the Jackets on the scoreboard with a straight-set victory on court four. After taking the first set against No. 16 Forbes, 6-2, Cruz stood knotted at 2-all in the second set. The freshman won the next two games to go up 4-2 and sealed the win at 6-3, to setup a 2-1 match score.
But the Tar Heels won the next three matches to extend their lead to 5-1. Tran topped Sharabura on court six, 6-2, 7-6 (2), despite the Jacket battling back to 5-all from a 4-2 deficit before the match was clinched on court three. Tanguilig narrowly edged Mahak Jain in three sets. The opponents split the first two sets, but the Tar Heel opened strong in the third to take the match, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2. Brantmeier cushioned UNC’s lead from court two, defeating Bilchev in a tight match, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Play completed at the top seed where a top-10 showdown took place. Tech’s No. 8 Lee faced No. 1 Crawley in a battle that lasted over…
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