Miami men’s tennis opens spring season with sweeps of Troy and Binghamton

Graduate student Dan Martin returns the ball during his singles match against Troy University on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Photo credit: Alexandra Carnochan

After a lengthy offseason full of practices and invitationals, Miami men’s tennis returned to play in style at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. On a breezy Saturday morning that saw temperatures in the 40s, the Hurricanes made quick work of the Troy Trojans, 4-0, before earning their second sweep of the day against the Binghamton Bearcats in the evening.

The ‘Canes (2-0) featured many new faces in the starting lineups as a new crop of transfers and recruits arrived over the offseason. Anchoring the team at No. 1 against Troy (0-1) was returning veteran Dan Martin, who was fresh off a victory over the top ranked player in the country. At No. 2, Martin Katz made a big jump from the previous season when he played No. 4.

Freshman Antonio Prat made his tennis debut for the ‘Canes at No. 3 and had the poise of a veteran as he won all four of his matches. In the No. 4 spot was returning senior Franco Aubone, who played in many intense matches last year, including a thrilling win over rival FSU.

At No. 5, freshman Nacho Serra Sanchez made his Hurricane debut. Both Sanchez and Prat were two exciting recruits that head coach Aljosa Piric pursued in Spain.

Finally at No. 6 was freshman Martin Vergara, who looked to have an impact as he officially began his career with the Hurricanes.

To open the day, the Hurricanes were dominant in every facet against the Trojans. In doubles, they won on Courts 1 and 2 by the same score, 6-2, to claim the doubles point and the momentum going into singles.

As singles play began, UM would grab the lead on all six courts. Every ‘Cane won their opening set with freshman Prat notching an impressive 6-0 win.

As the match continued, it was a dash to the finish line. To win, Miami needed three singles victories and every court looked decisive after one set. Prat would be the first to complete his match with a 6-0, 6-4 triumph to notch his first career singles victory.

Martin then surged to put the ‘Canes one point away from victory as he won 7-5, 6-3. With many matches on the cusp of victory, it was fellow freshman Sanchez who dealt the final blow. He won 6-4, 6-3 to clinch the match for the ‘Canes.

Freshman Nacho Serra Sanchez returns the ball during a singles match against Troy University on Saturday Jan. 14 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
Freshman Nacho Serra Sanchez returns the ball during a singles match against Troy University on Saturday Jan. 14 at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Photo credit: Stefania Papadopulos

It was a busy day on the courts with the Miami Women’s tennis team hosting an invitational of its own, so the rest of the matches were abandoned after Sanchez’s victory.

Later in the afternoon, the Men’s team would retake the courts for a second time to face off against the Binghamton Bearcats (0-1). It was another quick affair as the ‘Canes repeated their domination on all courts.

In doubles, the Hurricanes powered their way to victory, winning 6-2 on Court 1, 6-0 on Court 2 and 6-2 on Court 3.

To give Martin and Aubone some rest, the lineup was shifted slightly. Katz moved to No. 1 followed by Prat, Sanchez and Vergara. Grad transfer Leo Bierbaum made his first appearance for the program at the No. 5 position, and freshman Jacson Armistead was featured at the No. 6 slot.

Like earlier in the day, it was completely one-sided. The ‘Canes pounded their way to first set victories on every single court.

It was Prat once again who finished first as he made light work of his opponent 6-2, 6-1. Next, Bierbaum won his first career match for the ‘Canes in dominant fashion, 6-3, 6-3. With one point needed to clinch the match, Vergara claimed the last victory, 6-3, 6-2.

Next up, Miami travels to Athens, Ga., for ITA Kickoff Weekend and faces Atlantic Coast Conference foe Louisville on Jan. 29 in the opening round. The Hurricanes will take on either LSU or Georgia the next day.