Men’s tennis weekend recap: Canes finish out the season on a three-game road slate

vs Liberty Photo credit: Josh Halper

The University of Miami men’s tennis team wrapped up the regular season this weekend with a three-game road slate in North Carolina, where they dropped two of three matches. First, the Canes lost to UNC 3-4 and Duke 2-4 before beating Charlotte 6-1 in their final game of the year. Here is a recap of the three matches:

UM (7-8, 4-5 ACC) vs. UNC (16-2, 8-2 ACC)

For their first of three road games to wrap up the season, the No. 43 University of Miami men’s tennis team looked to force an upset as they traveled to Chapel Hill on Friday to face the No. 3 UNC Tar Heels at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center. The Canes fought valiantly all afternoon, but it wasn’t enough as they ultimately fell 4-3.

Opening the day, UNC captured the first point by winning two out of three doubles matches. The Tar Heels’ Mac Kiger and Simon Soendergaard took out the No. 32 duo of Franco Aubone and Benjamin Hannestad, 6-4. Determined to put up a fight, the Canes stormed back as Adria Soriano Barrera and Oren Vasser downed UNC’s No. 2 doubles pair 6-4.To break the deadlock, Brian Cernoch and Peter Murphy bested Bojan Jankulovksi and Stefan Milicevic 6-3 to take a 1-0 lead over the Canes.

As for singles, the UNC men’s team got off to a fast start by winning the first three matches, giving them three more points.

UNC’s No. 66 Brian Cernoch started things off by defeating Jankulovski 6-3, 6-1 on court 2. Mac Kiger then followed suit as he prevailed over Aubone 6-4, 6-3. Finishing what Cernoch began, Logan Zapp took out Vasser 6-3, 6-4.

Even though the match was clinched as UNC went up 4-0, play wasn’t suspended. The other three singles matches would be allowed to finish, and the Tar Heels were leading in all of them.

That soon changed.

After losing the first set, Hannestad came back and forced a tiebreaker that came down to the wire. He ended up taking down Josh Peck 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-8). Meanwhile on court 4, Milicevic started to find his rhythm after failing to win a single game in the first set. He eventually stormed back to defeat No. 87 Soendergaard 0-6, 7-6 (7-5), 1-0 (10-6). Lastly, the Canes took No.1 singles when No. 34 Soriano Barrera claimed victory in the third set over No. 77 Sigouin, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Ultimately though, it was too little too late for the Canes as they scored all three of their points after UNC had already clinched the match.

UM (7-9, 4-6 ACC) vs. Duke (11-9, 6-5 ACC)

After losing in Chapel Hill, the University of Miami men’s tennis team traveled 20 min to Durham to face the other North Carolina sports powerhouse – No. 41 Duke. After securing the first point of the match, everything went downhill for the Canes as they lost 4-2 to the Blue Devils at Ambler Tennis Stadium on Saturday.

Duke started things off as Michael Heller and Andrew Zhang comfortably downed Vasser and Soriano Barrera in the first doubles match 6-2. Then, Stefan Milicevic and Jankulovski got the Canes back in it as they propelled themselves past Andrew Dale and Faris Khan 6-3. The Canes then seized the doubles point when No. 32 Franco Aubone and Benjamin Hannestad upset No. 12 Sean Sculley and Garrett Johns on court 1 to go up 1-0.

It was singles that gave the Hurricanes a rude awakening as Duke squandered their hot start by winning four out of five matches.

In No. 1 singles, No. 94 Johns defeated Soriano Barrera 6-4, 6-4. On court 4, Dale trounced Milicevic 6-2, 6-2. Shortly after, Heller got the best of Aubone 7-5, 6-3, which gave the Blue Devils their third straight point. Staving off a loss, the Canes bounced back when Vasser won a tough battle with Khan 7-5, 6-4. With the match on the line, Andrew Zhang stamped out a Hurricane comeback by squeaking past Hannestad 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Play was then suspended, resulting in an unfinished match on court 2, where Jankulovski was leading Scully 2-6, 6-3, 5-3.

After a four game win streak, the Canes found themselves on a two-game skid after dropping both matches in North Carolina. They would change that on Sunday.

UM (8-9, 4-6 ACC) vs. Charlotte (12-11)

After back-to-back losses, the University of Miami men’s tennis team finished the regular season on a high note Sunday, rolling past the Charlotte 49ers 6-1 at the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex.

The Canes dominated from the get-go, securing the doubles point in three matches.

On court 1, No. 32 Aubone and Hannestad demolished Henry Lieberman and Leo Menezes 6-1. Ignasi de Rueda and Ben Wayand then defeated Soriano Barrera and Vasser to tie things up. In the end, it was Milicevic and Jankulovski who clinched the point for UM, beating Vanja Dobrnjac and Cole Brainard 6-2.

In singles, the Canes won five of six matches which all started with Jankulovski’s triumph over Lieberman 6-2, 6-2. Not to be outdone by his doubles partner, Milicevic followed by winning his match over Wayand 6-3, 6-1. On Court 4, Vasser grasped the Hurricanes fourth point by taking out Menezes 6-2, 6-2, ensuring UM’s victory.

However, play was not suspended, and the Canes finished out their other three matches.

In No.1 singles, No. 103 Rueda secured a come-from-behind victory over Soriano Barrera 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, the only point of the day for the 49ers.

Charlotte was close to grabbing a few other points though, as Aubone barely got past Dobrnjac 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (10-6) and Stephen Madonia outlasted Brainard 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6).

Next up, the ninth-seeded Canes travel to Rome, Georgia, for the ACC Championships to face the eighth-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at the Rome Tennis Center.