The ACC Tennis Championship has no easy matches. The mentality is to survive and advance. The ‘Canes did just that on a sunny afternoon in Cary, N.C. on Thursday.
Pitted against the Georgia Tech (GT) Yellow Jackets in the second round of the tournament, the ‘Canes fought like their season depended on it.
Beginning the match with doubles, the UM got off to a roaring start on Court 3. Freshman Antonio Prat and sophomore Martin Katz left their opponents in the dust. Winning 6-0, they put the ‘Canes out in front.
GT nearly repeated the feat on Court 1, as it bested fifth-year senior Juan Martin Jalif and freshman Martin Vergara, 2-6. All eyes turned to Court 2 and the veteran duo of fifth-year senior Franco Aubone and graduate student Dan Martin. Knowing this might be the last ACC doubles match of their careers, they came up huge for the Hurricanes, winning 6-3.
With the tiebreak in hand, the grind started all over again in singles. Needing just three matches, the ‘Canes quickly checked off one on Court 4. Graduate student Leo Bierbaum crushed his opponent, 7-5, 6-1. GT brought itself back within one, as Prat fell on Court 2, 5-7, 4-6. Miami got another boost as Aubone won a crucial match on Court 6, 6-3, 6-4.
Needing just one more point to move on, GT (13-14) buckled down the hatches. In a rivalry that extends to last year’s ACC Tournament, a battle of the Martins was being waged on Court 1. No. 25 Dan Martin faced off against No. 9 Andres Martin. Martin (UM) got the better of Martin (GT) 6-4 in the first set, but Martin (GT) came storming back, 6-0, in the second set. In the third set, Martin (GT) prevailed, 6-3, to keep Tech’s ACC campaign alive.
With the score at 3-2 in favor of Miami (15-9), the final two matches were dead even. On Court 2, Katz was on serve in the third set, 3-4. On Court 5, freshman Nacho Serra Sanchez was down 2-3 in the third set but was also on serve.
Needing one of these two players to clutch up for the ‘Canes, both made their moves. Both players broke their opponents to claim momentum for Miami. It was Katz who crossed the finish line first, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, to push the Hurricanes to the next round, 4-2. Sanchez was winning 6-2, 4-6, 3-2 when the match was called.
Miami now turns its sights to the top seed in the ACC, Virginia. First serve takes place Friday at 3:30 in Cary, N.C.