Virginia powers past Miami men’s tennis in ACC quarterfinals

Graduate student Leo Bierbaum prepares to hit the ball back over during the match point against Mai Gao from Boston College at Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Sunday, April 9. Photo credit: Reese Putnam

When going up against the No. 8 team in the nation, it’s nearly a certainty that points will be hard to come by. With a singles lineup for the Cavaliers featuring four out of six players in the top 100 and two in the top 25, there didn’t look to be many openings for the ‘Canes. However, when the dust settled, the ‘Canes were able to grab two points but lost in the quarterfinals of the ACC Championship, 2-4.

Before the daunting task of singles began, the ‘Canes first had an opportunity in doubles. It was a fast start on Court 3, as freshman Antonio Prat and sophomore Martin Katz won 6-2. Next, fifth-year senior Franco Aubone and Dan Martin secured the point for the UM, as it won 6-4 to give the ‘Canes an unexpected lead in the match. On Court 1, fifth-year senior Juan Martin Jalif and freshman Martin Vergara were also winning, 5-4.

This was the best start the ‘Canes (15-10) could have asked for as they faced off against one of the best singles lineups in the country. Virginia (22-4) started strong, winning five of its six first sets. The lone ‘Cane to win his opening set was Aubone on Court 6.

Virginia got back on level terms as No. 8 Chris Rodesch ran past No. 24 Martin, 6-3, 6-2. Aubone closed out his match on Court 6, giving the ‘Canes another surprising point to go up 2-1. This lead quickly evaporated.

The Cavaliers’ next blow came on Court 3, as Katz fell 6-2, 6-3. Moments later, graduate student Leo Bierbaum lost 3-6, 1-6 on Court 4. Miami’s ACC hopes were then extinguished on Court 5, as freshman Nacho Serra Sanchez lost 4-6, 2-6. The match was ended, and things looked equally dire on Court 2. Prat was down 4-6, 2-5, as the match was abandoned.

Miami will head back to Coral Gables and await its postseason fate. The NCAA Tournament bracket is released on May 1.