Miami men’s tennis charges past UCF

Freshman Antonio Prat backs up in order to set himself up to hit the ball back to Florida Atlantic University players during a doubles match at Neil Schiff Tennis Center on February 12. Photo credit: Reese Putnam

For the past three seasons, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has been the better team against the ‘Canes. Situated next to the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida, UCF has become a hotbed for tennis talent. The script was flipped on Friday as the ‘Canes dominated the Knights, 4-0, to win their third consecutive match.

Things got off to a slow start at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center as the match that was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. experienced a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay. After the lengthy wait, the teams took to the courts at 5:30 p.m. as dusk began to fall.

The Hurricanes (5-2) started off on the right note as they clinched the all-important doubles advantage. Sophomore Martin Katz and freshman Antonio Prat made quick work of their opponents on Court 3 as they won comfortably, 6-2.

On Court 1, fifth-year senior Juan Martin Jalif and freshman Martin Vergara had their hands full against the No. 48 UCF pair. The ‘Canes fell, 3-6, to even up doubles play. This tie was short-lived, as graduate student Dan Martin and fifth-year senior Franco Aubone got the job done on Court 2, winning 6-2.

In singles play, UM dominated in quick fashion. Graduate student Leo Bierbaum crushed his opponent on Court 6, 6-1, 6-0 to double Miami’s advantage to 2-0. Next, freshman Nacho Sanchez won comfortably, 6-3, 6-1, to put the ‘Canes on the brink of winning. Pray dealt the final blow with a decisive 6-2, 6-2, straight-set victory on Court 2 to give UM the win. The match lasted a mere hour and 50 minutes, well below the typical two-and-a-half-hour time.

Despite the scoreboard showing a blowout for the ‘Canes, the matches that were abandoned looked to be in favor of the Knights.

On all three courts, UCF had won the first sets. On Court 1, Martin had lost a tight opening set but held a narrow lead in the second. On Court 2, Katz’s match looked destined for a third set as he had a big lead in the second set. On Court 4, Aubone was staving off defeat as he was down a break in the second set.

This victory still counts as a sweep for the Hurricanes, who have five this season. They look to collect a sixth sweep next Saturday when they face off against the FGCU Eagles at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center at 3 p.m.