CARY, N.C. --- Top-seeded North Carolina advanced to the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Tennis Championship semifinals with a 4-0 win over eighth-seeded NC State Friday afternoon at the Cary Tennis Park. The Tar Heels swept doubles before claiming a trio of singles wins from Caroline Price, Lauren McHale and Whitney Kay to secure a spot in Saturday's semifinal round.
Carolina (25-2) jumped out to a quick lead on all three doubles courts and clinched the point in emphatic fashion. Zoe De Bruycker and Ashley Dai were first to finish, disposing of Elisha Hande and Nicole Martinez on court two, 8-2. Suarez-Malaguti and Tessa Lyons then sealed the early advantage with an 8-4 victory over Chloe Smith and Sophie Nelson on court three. The No. 61 duo of Price and Kay led 7-5 on court one when play was halted.
The Tar Heels made sure that Friday's ACC quarterfinal would not be a repeat of the tight 4-3 decision from the regular season, winning the opening set on five of six singles courts.
Price, the sophomore All-ACC pick, was the first UNC winner, thumping Rachel James-Baker in straight sets on court four, 6-2, 6-1.
While Carolina was in control of the dual at that point, NC State (14-9) kept it competitive on the other five courts. The top two courts featured a pair of top-100 matchups, as No. 7 Suarez-Malaguti battled to a tough first set win over No. 49 Joelle Kissell on court one and No. 44 De Bruycker was also up a set on No. 80 Tatiana Illova on court two.
But the Tar Heels used their signature singles depth to ease into Saturday's semifinals. McHale made it 3-0 on court five, winning on her fourth match point of a lengthy final game to take beat Hande, 6-2, 6-4.
Moments later, No. 36 Kay finished a second-set tiebreak comeback to top Smith, 6-4, 7-6 (5), to take the dual. Kay, who had three match points spoiled in the final game of the second set, rallied from 4-2 down the tiebreak to score the clinching victory.
In addition to Suarez-Malaguti and De Bruycker, Lyons was also on the verge of a win when the match was abandoned, as the Wallingford, Pa., junior led Nicole Martinez, 6-7, 6-2, 2-0, on court six.
Carolina will take on fourth-seeded Miami Saturday at 10 a.m. Saturday's appearance in the semifinals will mark the fifth consecutive year the Tar Heels have been among the final four teams left in the conference tournament.
No. 2 North Carolina 4, No. 47 NC State 0
1. #61 Price/Kay (NC) vs. Kissell/Illova (ST), 7-5, DNF
2. De Bruycker/Dai (NC) def. Hande/Martinez (ST), 8-2
3. Lyons/Suarez-Malaguti (NC) def. Smith/Nelson (ST), 8-4
Order of finish: 2, 3
1. #7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (NC) vs. #49 Joelle Kissell (ST), 7-5, 4-4, DNF
2. #44 Zoe De Bruycker (NC) vs. #80 Tatiana Illova (ST), 6-3, 3-4, DNF
3. #36 Whitney Kay (NC) def. Chloe Smith (ST), 6-4, 7-6 (5)
4. #56 Caroline Price (NC) def. Rachel James-Baker (ST), 6-2, 6-1
5. Lauren McHale (NC) def. Elisha Hande (ST), 6-2, 6-4
6. Tessa Lyons (NC) vs. Nicole Martinez (ST), 6-7, 6-2, 2-0, DNF
Order of finish: 4, 5, 3