Big win for the Deacs in Chapel Hill! pic.twitter.com/AYsjxtWI9p— Wake Men's Tennis (@WakeMTennis) April 3, 2016
By the time Romain Bogaerts got to what felt like his 500th match point of the game, No. 6 Wake Forest had already showed everybody that they are legitimate national title contenders. That he finally got over the hump and gave the Deacs a 4-3 victory over the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels makes the day that much sweeter for the team and Wake Forest fans alike.
With the loss, UNC falls to 22-2 on the season (6-2 in the ACC), while Wake Forest improves to 24-4 (7-1 ACC) this year. UNC did Wake a big favor by beating UVA on Friday, giving the Cavaliers its first loss of the year, and setting up what could be a gigantic matchup between the Deacs and Cavaliers on April 15th to effectively decide the ACC regular season champion, should Wake get by Duke next weekend.
The Wake doubles duo of Romain Bogaerts and Dennis Uspensky managed a 6-1 win early on to get the advantage in the doubles, but UNC's No. 31 Brayden Schnur and Jack Murray quickly evened that up with a 6-3 win over No. 48 Petros Chrysochos and Jon Ho.
UNC's Brett Clark and Robert Kelly then showed why they are the number three ranked doubles team in the country, defeating No. 12 Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim by a final of 6-3 to grab what seemed to be a big doubles point at the time.
From there, UNC got out to a seemingly insurmountable lead, taking the first sets on courts 1-5, while Wake's Dennis Uspensky blitzed Anu Kodali 6-0 to grab a set for the Deacs.
Despite the difficult odds, Wake fought back to claim the second set on courts 2, 4, and 5, to make the match a little more entertaining. Uspensky, who switched from the 6 to the 5 with Christian Seraphim for today's match, got the Deacs even on the overall scoreboard,1-1, after winning the second set 6-3.
This is when everything got a little crazy. UNC's No. 46 Brayden Schnur got his second win of the day, defeating No. 16, and reigning ACC Player of the Week Skander Mansouri in straight sets (6-4, 6-4). UNC's No, 37 Brett Clark then beat Wake's Jon Ho in straight sets to claim a 3-1 lead for the Tar Heels.
At this point everything looked awful for Wake, as Christian Seraphim was down 5-3 in the second set to UNC's No. 95 Jack Murray, and facing match point to give the win to UNC.
What Seraphim didn't do though is fold, winning 10 of his next 13 games to take the set, and then the third set to grab the match at the No. 5 singles. Following Wake's No. 36 Peter Chrysochos' upset of UNC No. 23 Ronnie Schneider (4-6, 6-1, 6-4), the Deac's somehow tied the match at 3-3 overall.
With the match tied, everything came down to the number four singles between Wake Forest's Romain Bogaerts, and UNC's No. 82 Robert Kelly. This was an incredible singles match, and there was very little separation between the two throughout.
Kelly took the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-4), while Bogaerts took the second in 6-2 fashion.
In the third set, Bogaerts broke Kelly immediately before Kelly broke right back to get it tied at 4-4.
Bogaerts broke again to get it to 5-4 Wake, and now serving for the match. He eventually got it to 40-30 before Kelly won the next three points (there's no deuce or advantage in college tennis) to tie the match at 5-5.
Remarkably, Bogaerts broke Kelly for a third time in the 3rd set to make it 6-5. He would eventually go up 40-15 while serving, with triple match point, before Kelly came back AGAIN to win the game, and even the set at 6-6 and force a tiebreaker to decide the match.
Kelly won the first point to put the Heels up 1-0 before Bogaerts reeled off five straight points to take a 5-1 lead. Just as quickly, Kelly got it back to 5-4, with Bogaerts serving for the match.
Bogaerts split his two serves to make it match point at 6-5, and then when everything seemingly could not get stranger, won the match on Kelly's serve to give Wake Forest an incredible comeback victory.
The win set off a raucous celebration, and should propel the Deacs into the top 5 in the rankings.
This is without a doubt one of the biggest wins in school history, and serves notice to everybody in the country that Wake Forest is a legitimate national title contender.