Balance of Talent Leads to Doubles Triumph at Rice Invitational
HOUSTON, Texas – The University of Miami’s men’s tennis duo of Nile Clark and Tatsuki Shimamoto won the Gray Draw bracket with two early-morning wins in day two of the Rice Invitational.
With the 8-2 win against Daniel Warren and Mohamed Abled-Aziz of Rice and the 8-5 triumph over Carlos Pedrosa Cuevas and William Mottet of Corpus Christi, the newly formed pair improved to 3-0 and topped the eight-pair bracket.
“This tournament win has so far been the highlight of our weekend,” Miami head coach Aljosa Piric said. “Nile has led the way in setting an example in doubles, he is our best doubles player and it showed through the leadership today. Tatsuki certainly took care of his part and it is great for him to start his college career with a tournament win at his first event.”
With the two morning wins, Clark, improved to 5-0 overall on the season after Friday’s three-for-three day. Perhaps with fatigue into play, in the afternoon the senior fell – 6-2, 6-2 – to Michael Copeland of UNCW in singles play.
The freshly formed partnership between freshmen Adria Soriano Barrera and Pablo Aycart Joya also reaped success for the Hurricanes in the second day of the event. The two Spanish-born players responded to their quarter-final defeat Friday in their best way possible and defeated Tadhg Collins and Mack Galvin of Air Force before defeating Tulane’s Eric Wagner and Chase Schupp 8-6 in the consolation final.
Soriano met difficulties in singles play, too, but advanced to the Blue draw final after a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over Agus Savarino of UNCW. In Sunday’s final, Soriano will face Tulane’s Tim Ruetzel, who had to play a three-set match with two tiebreakers to earn his spot in the final.
Collins suffered one more loss to a Hurricane in singles play, where he was upended 6-2, 7-5 by Miami’s freshman Jake Kuhlman. Grabbing a key service break in the second set allowed Kuhlman to recover from two doubles defeats, and a three-set heartbreak – 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 – suffered to Michael Morphy of UNCW, earlier in the day.
“Our guys have been fighting and competing very hard in the last couple of days, I am very pleased with the attitude and with the effort” Piric said. “Everyone has recorded wins and I am pleased about that. I am especially happy for our freshmen to log their first victories as Miami Hurricanes.”
Kuhlman’s partner, senior Niclas Genovese, enjoyed a better day in singles competition than Friday. The Switzerland native had to fight for it, but ultimately earned his first victory of the season, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 over Incarnate Word’s Caleb Dyer.
In the meantime, his classmate Christian Langmo did the same to advance to the round of 128 in the pre-qualifications for the ITA Men’s All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. Langmo, who finished last spring 8-11, defeated Jeremy Mueller of Eastern Washington in straight sets – 6-1, 6-2. Langmo will next battle Andy Lau of Troy on Sunday morning.
While Langmo had a bye in the first round of pre-qualifications, junior Dane Dunlap had to go through two opponents to go into Sunday. The Washago, Canada, native first took Hunter Harrison of Mississippi State in three sets – 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 – and then was on the winning side of a dramatic second-set tiebreaker to defeat Loic Blanco of Stetson – 6-4, 7-6 (7) – and earn his place among the 64 players still battling for a spot in the main draw.
“I am sure Christian, Dane and the rest of the guys will be ready to compete hard,” Piric said. “We will continue to get better and finish the weekend strong tomorrow.”
The Rice Invitational will conclude Sunday while the ITA Men’s All-American Championships will continue for the next two days.
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Canes at Rice Invitational, day three (Sunday):
Adria Soriano vs. Tim Ruetzel (Tulane) (Blue Draw FINAL), 9 a.m.
Pablo Aycart Joya vs. Mohamed Abdel-Aziz (Rice), 10:15 a.m.
Nile Clark vs Isaac Perez (Air Force), 9 a.m.
Jake Kuhlman vs. Josh Hublitz (UNCW), 10:30 a.m.
Niclas Genovese vs. Chase Schupp (Tulane), 10:30 a.m.
Canes at All-American Championships, Pre-Qualifications, round of 64 (Sunday):
Christian Langmo vs. Andy Lau (Troy), 9 a.m.
Dane Dunlap vs. Zdenek Zerkas (Fresno State), 11 a..m.