Men’s and women’s tennis have varied success

Both men’s (No. 12) and women’s (No. 16) tennis were ranked coming into this season


Men’s tennis looks to go to another NCAA championship.

Jake Stuart, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Tennis

After winning the NCAA title in 2018 and finishing as the runner-up in 2019, the stage is set for yet another competitive season in 2021.  The Demon Deacons are currently ranked at No. 12 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

It was a shaky start for Wake Forest, who dropped the season opener to unranked Oklahoma. Following the loss, the Deacs bounced back with three straight resounding wins, including a victory over No. 20 South Carolina. In that match, senior Rrezart Cungu recorded his first win in straight sets, while redshirt senior Eduardo Nava and sophomore Henri Squire both won matchups against ranked opponents. Following the big win, the Demon Deacons suffered a tough loss against No. 4 Virginia, but kept it close, winning two sets. Wake Forest won their next eight matches, three of which were against formidable ACC opponents in Louisville, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. During the eight-match winning streak, Wake Forest only lost four combined sets and won 50.

Then, for the second time this season, Wake Forest was handed a loss by Virginia. The squad immediately bounced back and took down Davidson with a 7-0 win, highlighted by junior Siddhant Banthias’ domination in straight sets. In the Deacs’ closest matchup of the season to date, No. 2 Baylor came out on top, beating Wake Forest four sets to three. Several Demon Deacons marked individual wins against ranked opponents, including Squire, who took down No. 46 Adrian Boitan.

At the halfway point of the 2021 season, Wake Forest has a record of 13-4 — they’ve gone 11-2 at home and 4-1 in conference. Besides the opening match loss to Oklahoma, all the losses have occurred against ranked opponents. Within the first two weeks of April, Wake Forest will play No. 1 UNC Chapel Hill twice, No. 15 NC State and No. 31 Duke.

Women’s Tennis 

For a team that has had six straight winning seasons, it doesn’t hurt to have several starters returning for another season. The Deacons’ depth led to a No. 16 ranking in the preseason. Wake Forest returned juniors Saby Nihalani and Peyton Pesavento, along with senior Eliza Omirou. Newcomers such as No. 26 ranked freshman, Brooke Killingsworth, have brought a spark as well. She plays in the No. 1 doubles spot alongside junior Anna Brylin.

The Demon Deacons opened with two marquee wins against No. 18 ranked UCF and Charlotte. In the UCF victory, freshman Cassie Wooten secured the clinching point in the final set to march the Demon Deacons to victory. In the following match, Northwestern took down Wake Forest four sets to none. Wake Forest then fell to Tennessee and Furman, each five sets to two, before knocking off Elon and Campbell without losing a single set. Next was a trio of ranked opponents for the Demon Deacons: No. 10 NC State, No. 6 Florida State and No. 13 Georgia Tech. The Demon Deacons came away with only one win in those ranked matchups, defeating Georgia Tech. 

Wake Forest has nine matches left in regular season play, eight of which come against ACC opponents. In a strong ACC, the schedule never lightens up, but Wake Forest is primed to meet the challenge head-on.