Miami fights hard against No. 21 Notre Dame, falls just short of upset

Fourth-year junior Juan Martin Jail serves during the seventh game of the first set of his singles match versus sophomore Logan Zapp at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on March 11, 2022.
Fourth-year junior Juan Martin Jalif serves during the seventh game of the first set of his singles match versus sophomore Logan Zapp at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on March 11, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Miami men’s tennis (12-6, 1-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost another tightly contested match, extending their losing streak to four matches. This latest defeat came at the hands of No. 21 Notre Dame (14-6, 4-2 ACC). The two teams battled for 3.5 hours before the Irish edged the Canes, 4-3, to claim the victory.

For the second consecutive match, the UM doubles teams won with ease. The Hurricanes were leading on all three courts from start to finish with Courts 1 and 2 producing the wins for Miami. Fourth-year juniors Franco Aubone and Juan Martin Jalif had an impressive victory over No. 44 Matthew Che and Axel Nefve, 6-3. On the second court, fifth-year senior Benjamin Hannestad and freshman Martin Katz won with the same score, 6-3.

Singles play began and Aubone put on a masterful performance on Court 6. He demolished his opponent, 6-2, 6-0, to give UM a 2-0 lead in the match. Notre Dame responded on Court 1, as No. 99 Dan Martin suffered a rare loss to No. 44 Nefve, 6-7, 6-2.

The Canes would then drop two more points as Katz fell, 5-7, 2-6, and Hannestad lost, 2-6, 6-7. The tables had now turned, and Notre Dame was one point from victory, but two Hurricanes were still battling hard.

On Court 2, fifth-year senior Bojan Jankulovski channeled his experience to orchestrate a massive straight-set victory over graduate Aditya Vashistha, 7-5, 6-4. This left the match down to Court 4, where both opponents had split the first two sets. Junior Connor Fu won the first set, 3-6, but veteran Juan Martin Jalif responded with a 6-4 second set to level the match.

In the third set, Martin broke first to make the score 3-2, but Fu responded, going up 4-3. The match remained deadlocked at 5-5 when the Irish finally hit gold, winning the final set, 7-5.

Yet another competitive but ultimately disappointing match leaves Miami with a lot to play for against archrival FSU next Wednesday. For Jalif, this will be against his former team, whom he transferred from.

UM has a ten-day break to recuperate and refocus for March 30, when it will play at 3 p.m. at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.