UM men’s tennis defends home court

The No. 35 Hurricanes men’s tennis team (4-3) defeated Florida A&M 5-2 on Friday and overpowered Wisconsin 6-3 on Sunday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

The Hurricanes had to not only overcome a formidable opponent in the first match of the weekend, but also with inclimate weather. Players from both teams had to cope with strong wind gusts and cold temperatures.

“It was really windy and there were tough conditions for both of us. I had to stay really consistent,” said freshman Todd Widom.

The Coral Springs native and the number one singles player has been a huge bright spot in a sub-par season for the Hurricanes. He has been ranked as high as #2 in junior tennis and is currently ranked 18th in the country among college players.

He defeated his opponent, Lenin Mongerie of FAMU, 6-2, 6-2, in a very commanding fashion.

“Todd has had a great season as a freshman; he is doing really well,” said coach Jay Berger.

Tomas Smid, the No. 2 singles player for the Hurricanes, also beat his opponent in a resounding manner. Smid defeated Isaac Yarrell of FAMU 6-1, 6-2.

The best match of the evening was between UM’s Maxime LePivert and Florida A&M’s Pfungwa Mahefu. LePivert, who normally plays No.5 or 6, played against a No.4 ranked opponent.

The two players appeared very evenly skilled as they stretched the match into a three set thriller that went down to a tiebreaker. LePivert, who was down 2-5 early in the second set, mounted a four game comeback to retake the lead, 6-5. In the end, Mahefu won the match 5-7, 7-6, 7-6.

Miami’s No.5, Joel Berman, beat his opponent, Kareem Bennett, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, while No.6 Tarik El Bassiouni beat FAMU’s Noel Wadawu, 6-2, 6-4. The Hurricanes’ No.2 and No.3 doubles won their matches, 8-4, 8-2, respectively.

“It was a tough day to play, real windy, but I thought we played well,” said coach Berger. “We have had some bad breaks this season. We had a player fall and injure his elbow at practice and another player out with a bad wrist, so our main concern right now is to stay healthy.”

On Sunday, the Hurricanes took two of three doubles matches and four of six singles en route to a 5-1 decision over the Badgers.

Miami improved to 4-3 on the season, while Wisconsin falls to 6-3.

The Hurricanes got out to an early 1-0 lead winning the doubles match point. At the No. 2 spot, Smid and Widom routed Jason Gonzaga and Dave Hippic, 8-0.

The duo of Joel Berman and Jose Lieberman held off Danny Westerman and Alex Kasarov, 9-7 at the No. 3 doubles position.

In singles action, Widom led the way for the Hurricanes beating Westerman in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.

At the No. 2 spot Smid defeated Scott Rutherford in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, while teammate Lieberman overpowered Dave Hippic 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 3 position.

LePievert won his singles match defeating Gonzaga 6-3, 6-1 at the No. 5 spot.

The Hurricanes next go on the road to face TCU Friday, March 8 at 1:00 p.m. in Forth Worth, Texas.