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Miami Moves Past Utah State, 4-2

AUSTIN, Texas –  Battling Utah State in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, the University of Miami men’s tennis team capped off an exciting afternoon with a 4-2 triumph over the Aggies at the Texas Tennis Center.
 
The Hurricanes improved to 4-0 on the young season, following Friday’s victory, their best start since opening the 2004 campaign at 9-0.
 
For the fourth time in as many outings this season, Miami claimed the advantageous doubles point to help carry momentum into singles action.
 
“[That was a] good win against a very tough Utah State team. Our guys competed well,” Miami head coach Aljosa Piric said. “In doubles we came out with a high level of energy and purpose on all three courts and got on top of them very fast. [We got] up a couple of breaks on each court and ended up clinching the doubles point fairly fast.”
 
Competing at No. 3 doubles, redshirt junior Dane Dunlap and junior Stephen Madonia cruised to an early 5-0 lead, before topping Duro Opacic and Felipe Acosta, 6-1.
 
Playing on the adjacent court, Miami’s sophomore tandem of Bojan Jankulovski and Adria Soriano Barrera sealed the point with a 6-2 victory over Sergiu Bucur and Rithvik Bollipalli.
 
Competing on court 1, freshmen Franco Aubone and Kaya Gore held a 5-2 advantage over Issac Arturo Arevalo and Jose Carvajal before the doubles point was clinched.
 
In singles, the Hurricanes and Aggies continued to exchange blows with the teams splitting the six opening sets.
 
In the first singles match to conclude, Aubone came up short, 3-6, 4-6, against Carvajal. Moments later, Acosta gave the Aggies a 2-1 advantage with a victory over Dunlap, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
 
“But I told the guys in between singles and doubles, that Utah State is a tough, tough singles team. And they were,” Piric said. “They pushed us, they competed well. They won a couple of spots at four and five against Dane and Franco, and they went up 2-1 in the match. But our guys continued to compete hard.”
 
Following a back-and-forth opening-set tiebreaker, freshman Francisco Bastias, ranked No. 97 on the Oracle/ITA singles list, logged Miami’s first singles point of the afternoon with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 triumph over Opacic.
 
“Francisco put us back on board with a tough, 7-6, 6-3 win,” Piric said. “He was able to win the first set in the tiebreaker, which came down to just a couple points. He was just able to be a little bit tougher than his opponent, and then he closed it out in the second which gave us a little bit of momentum.”
 
Falling behind in the opening set, 2-5, against Arturo Arevalo, No. 21 Soriano Barrera rallied off six of the final seven games to claim the set, 7-5. However, continuing to battle, Arturo Arevalo countered with a 7-5 second set win to force a third-set tiebreaker. Falling behind, 1-2, in the set, the Miami sophomore secured the final five points and sealed the match with an ace, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.
 
“Adri was up in the second with a break and actually serving for the match, up 5-4 in the second. However, he ended up getting broke and lost the set,” Piric said. “But then he regained his momentum back early in the third and ended up putting us in front, 3-2, in the match. I never felt [concerned in his match], because outside of those four games in the second set, Adri was playing really well. And then Boki and Kaya were still out their battling.”
 
Competing at No. 6 singles, Gore cruised through the opening set against Bollipalli, 6-2.
 
Trailing, 2-5, in the second set, the freshman rallied off three straight games. However, it was not enough as Bollipalli claimed the set, 7-5. In the final set, Gore jumped in front 5-3 following a tremendous ace, before breaking for the match clincher, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
 
“It was a great clinch for Kaya. I am excited for him to get his first clinch for our team,” Piric said. “He competed hard and closed it out under pressure. So I am very pleased with him. Overall, I am just pleased with the team’s fight. I mean, we fought and competed hard. We didn’t necessarily play well, but that’s what you have to do. You have to find ways to win, even on days when not everything is going your way. But credit goes to Utah State. They made us play poorly in a couple of spots, and were just a very good team.”
 
In the lone match not to finish, No. 35 Jankulovski held a 4-6, 6-2, 4-3 advantage over Bucur before the victory was secured by Miami.
 
Next up, the Hurricanes will face their ITA Kick-Off Weekend host, eighth-ranked Texas, Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. The winner advances to the elite ITA National Team Indoor Championship, held Feb. 15-19 in Chicago.
 
“So, a good team win, and now we are going to recover and get ready to play Texas tomorrow,” Piric said. “They are a team that we played in the Miami Spring Invite and we know we pushed them. We won a couple matches and pushed them in others. They are a legitimate top-10 team and it is going to be a great test for us as well as a good opportunity for our guys to really throw a punch and see where we are. But I am excited to see how we handle playing Texas on its courts, away from home.”
 
To keep up with the University of Miami men’s tennis team on social media, follow @CanesMensTennis on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
 
Singles
1. No. 21 A. Soriano Barrera (UM) def. Isaac Arturo Arevalo (USU) 7-5, 5-7, 6-2
2. No. 35 Bojan Jankulovski (UM) vs. Sergiu Bucur (USU) 4-6, 6-2, 4-3, unfinished
3. No. 97 Francisco Bastias (UM) def. Duro Opacic (USU) 7-6 (7-9), 6-4
4. Felipe Acosta (USU) def. Dane Dunlap (UM) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
5. Jose Carvajal (USU) def. Franco Aubone (UM) 6-3, 6-4
6. Kaya Gore (UM) def. Rithvik Bollipalli (USU) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
 
Doubles
1. Franco Aubone/Kaya Gore (UM) vs. Isaac Arturo Arevalo/Jose Carvajal (USU) 5-2, unfinished
2. Bojan Jankulovski/A. Soriano Barrera (UM) def. Sergiu Bucur/Rithvik Bollipalli (USU) 6-2
3. Stephen Madonia/Dane Dunlap (UM) def. Duro Opacic/Felipe Acosta (USU) 6-1
 
Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (5,4,3,1,6)