Miami men’s tennis refused to lose Friday evening against the University of North Florida at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables. Despite many of the matches being tightly contested, Miami (4-2) stayed poised and rattled off seven straight victories for a 7-0 sweep. Two days later, the same script played out again, this time a 4-0 victory against the FAU Owls.
Things got off to a dramatic start as doubles play commenced against the Ospreys on Friday. On Court 2, fifth-year senior Franco Aubone and graduate student Dan Martin won a nail-biting set, 6-4.
However, UNF (1-1) jumped out to a 5-2 advantage on Court 1. With no margin of error remaining, fifth-year senior Juan Martin Jalif and freshman Martin Vergara Del Puerto forced a tiebreak at 6-6, before securing the doubles point for the Hurricanes with an eventual 8-6 victory.
On Court 3, sophomore Martin Katz and freshman Antonio Prat were in an intense tiebreak of their own when play was called off.
With every match being decided by slim margins in doubles, Miami knew singles play would be competitive. Things kicked off quickly for the ‘Canes on Court 2, as Katz steamrolled his opponent, 6-1, 6-1, to increase the lead to 2-0. Katz is undefeated on the season in singles play and has improved his ranking to No. 51 in the country.
Freshman Nacho Serra Sanchez finished moments later, as he also dismantled his opponent, 6-1, 6-1, on Court 6 to put the ‘Canes one match away from victory.
The decisive breakthrough came shortly after when graduate student Leo Bierbaum made quick work of his opponent, 6-3, 6-1, to seal the win. However, play continued on the rest of the courts.
Things were intense from there on out as focus shifted to Courts 1, 3 and 4. On 3, Prat won two extremely tight sets, 7-5, 7-5, to keep his impressive freshman campaign rolling.
Court 4 saw the only three–set match of the day, as Aubone found himself in yet another intense tie–break to decide the third set. After winning the first set, 6-3, he lost some momentum dropping the next set, 4-6, to force the decisive tie–break. In the tie–break, Aubone won 10-5 to give the sixth point of the day to the ‘Canes.
Despite Aubone’s dramatic three–set match, Court 1 was the last match to finish. No. 21 Dan Martin looked to be in a tight spot early as he went down a break at 2-4.
However, the deficit did not seem to bother him as he quickly bounced back, breaking his opponent’s serve and winning the first set in a tie–break, 7-6 (7-3). The second set was still close, but Martin found the winning formula, claiming the seventh and final point.
The sweep marked the third one of the year for the ‘Canes, but they didn’t stop there. On Sunday afternoon, they took to the courts once again to battle their South Florida neighbors, FAU (5-5).
The Hurricanes quickly rushed out of the gate to collect the first wins of the match and the doubles point. In striking resemblance to the match on Friday, it was Martin and Aubone with the victory on Court 2, 6-4, and Jalif and Vergara on Court 1 winning by the same score.
With the Super Bowl looming, the ‘Canes looked to make quick work of the remaining matches. No. 21 Dan Martin was done first with a 6-3, 6-3, masterclass on Court 1.
Next, freshman Nacho Sanchez and Leo Bierbaum won by identical scores, 6-2, 6-4, on Courts 5 and 6, respectively, to clinch the match for the ‘Canes 4-0.
The Owls were putting up fights on the remaining courts when the matches were abandoned. On Court 2, No. 51 Katz was locked in the beginnings of a third set. On Court 3, Prat’s match also would’ve gone to three sets as he battled back after losing the first set. On Court 4, Aubone was on the cusp of losing, but the match ended before the Owls could clinch a victory.
Next up, the ‘Canes face another in-state rival in UCF on Friday at 3 p.m. at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.