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April 24, 2010
CARY, N.C. - Seventh-seeded Georgia Tech is beginning to look like the master of the upset as the ACC Women's Tennis Championship approaches its final day.
The Yellow Jackets rallied past third-seeded and nationally eighth-ranked Clemson for a 4-2 victory in Saturday's semifinal. The win came one day after Georgia Tech turned back second-seeded and 11th-ranked Miami in the quarterfinal round.
The Yellow Jackets (16-9) will try to defy the bracket one more time on Sunday, when they face top-seeded and top-ranked North Carolina for the 2010 title. The Tar Heels have yet to lose a match against ACC opposition this season.
Sunday's championship match is scheduled for an 11 a.m. start at Cary Tennis Park. Virginia and Duke will meet for the men's championship, also at 11 a.m. The two ACC Tennis Championship finals will thus feature the nation's top-ranked men's and women's teams (Virginia and North Carolina, respectively), the nation's top-ranked women's player (Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi) and the nation's top-ranked men's doubles team (Duke's Henrique Cunha and Reid Carleton).
North Carolina scored a 4-0 win over fifth-seeded Florida State. The Tar Heels (26-3) reached their first ACC Championship final since 2003 and will be seeking its first conference title since 2002 on Sunday. UNC has won five ACC women's championships in all.
Georgia Tech will be going after its fourth ACC title and its first since winning three straight from 2005 through 2007.
The Tar Heels were led in Saturday's semifinal win over Florida State by Jelena Durisic and Sophie Grabinski. The pair teamed up for an 8-1 win over Federica Suess and Jessica Sucupira to help clinch the doubles point, then each scored a singles win as North Carolina put the match away.
Durisic, playing on the No. 3 court, bagged a 6-2, 6-2 win over ACC Freshman of the Year Francesca Segarelli. Grabinksi, playing at No. 5, defeated Suess by a 6-1, 6-1 score. The Tar Heels clinched the match with a win at the No. 4 singles slot, where freshman Gina Suarez-Malagut recorded a 7-6 (1), 6-0 victory over Amy Sageant.
Florida State, which entered this year's Championship ranked 14th nationally, slipped to 14-10 with the loss. With 26 wins, North Carolina is two victories shy of matching the school record of the 1980 team, which finished with a 28-6 record.
After dropping the doubles point to Clemson on Saturday, Georgia Tech responded the same way it did a day earlier against Miami - with four wins in singles.
Falconi downed Josipa Bek at No. 1 for her 19th straight singles win. Sasha Krupina and Lynn Blau followed suit with wins at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively.
The Yellow Jackets' clinching points came courtesy of freshman Elizabeth Kilborn, playing on the No. 5 court against the Tigers' Laurianne Henry. Kilborn's hard-fought 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory clinched Georgia Tech's spot in Sunday's final.
Clemson, which dropped to 22-5, was left to await what should still be a solid seeding for the NCAA Tournament when the field is announced on May 4.
Sunday's championship match will be played two weeks to the day of the regular-season meeting between the Tar Heels and Georgia Tech (April 11), when North Carolina posted a 5-2 road win.
Both of Sunday's championship matches will be available for delayed viewing on demand via theACC.com. Patrick Johnson will handle play-by-play duties, and former NC player Mike Herb will serve as color analysts for the broadcasts, which are scheduled to begin no later than three hours after conclusion of the tournament.