M. Tennis loses match for the ages against FSU, 4-3

Graduate Student Leonard Bierbaum returns the FNU opponent during Miami’s matches against the Osprey’s at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 10. Photo credit: Sam Peene

In a bitter rivalry match that is always circled on the calendar, Miami and Florida State both showed how badly they wanted to win on Wednesday evening in Tallahassee. It may have been the greatest match ever played between the two schools as four of the six matches went to third sets, with three of them decided by tiebreakers.

To add to the drama, No. 1 singles was the deciding match. Although the No. 44 ‘Canes (13-7) were ranked 26 spots below the Seminoles, they gave No. 18 FSU (15-5) a run for its money, but eventually lost 4-3.

As with any good story, the beginning was smooth and uncomplicated. Miami dominated in doubles, winning two matches in the blink of an eye. On Court 2, fifth-year senior Franco Aubone and graduate student Dan Martin sliced through the opposition, 6-2. On Court 1, fifth-year senior Juan Martin Jalif and freshman Martin Vergara won almost as easily, 6-3, to put the ‘Canes ahead 1-0.

Singles had all the real action. From the gates, both teams looked evenly matched. The ‘Canes drew first blood in singles as Jalif, a transfer from FSU, got revenge on his former team, winning 6-4, 6-4 on Court 5. However, the Seminoles responded on Court 6, as Vergara fell 6-3,6-3 on Court 6 to put the score at 2-1 Miami.

Courts 1-4 would continue playing for nearly another two hours. Remarkably, the next match to finish was Court 2, which had a thirdset tiebreak that ended 12-10. It was freshman Antonio Prat against the former No. 1 player at FSU, Loris Pourroy.

After winning the first set 6-3 and losing the second 5-7, the match headed for a climatic conclusion in the thirdset tiebreak. Prat had three match points at 6-3, but Pourroy remarkably battled back, eventually winning 12-10.

With the score now at 2-2, all eyes turned to Court 4. Graduate student Leo Bierbaum was locked in a thirdset tiebreaker of his own. After winning the first set 6-2, and losing the next set 6-3, Bierbaum heroically battled back from a break in the third set to send the match to a decisive tiebreak. Unfortunately for the ‘Canes, he lost 7-1 in the tiebreak to give the Seminoles their first lead of the day.

The lead was short lived, as sophomore Martin Katz punched in a tough win on Court 3. After being down 6-3, 5-2, Katz pulled off a miraculous comeback by winning five straight games and forcing a third set. Katz kept his calm, eventually winning in the third set tiebreak, 7-2, to put Court 1 at the center of attention.

The leader of the team, No. 55 Dan Martin, put everything on the court against No. 4 Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc. The first two sets were decided by tiebreaks. Cornut-Chauvinc won the first 7-6 (7-3), and Martin won the second 7-6 (9-7). Martin then stormed to a 4-1 lead in the decisive third set, before running out of steam. Cornut-Chauvinc won the next five games to win the match 7-5, giving FSU a 4-3 victory.

The ‘Canes return home for their final match of the year at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Sunday, April 9. Four ‘Canes seniors will be honored: Martin, Jalif, Aubone and Bierbaum. First serve is scheduled for noon.