Aubone/Hannestad Claim Southeast Regional Doubles Title
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Competing for the ITA Southeast Regional Championship title, the University of Miami men’s tennis doubles tandem of junior Benjamin Hannestad and sophomore Franco Aubone took care of business at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex Monday afternoon.
“Very happy for Franco and Benji,” Miami head coach Aljosa Piric said. “This is great for them and great for our team.”
Squaring off against Georgia Tech’s Brandon Freestone and Chris Yun in the semifinal, the UM duo rallied off 10 straight games to secure the match, 6-2, 6-0.
With the match even at 2-2, Hannestad served up a dominating fifth game, winning at love, to take a 3-2 advantage. Then, down 30-40, the pair dug out back-to-back points to go up a break, a lead they would not look back on.
Following the victory, the duo returned to the court at noon to face USF’s Rithvik Bollipallu and Jacob Wojcik in the title match.
Facing set-point twice, the Hurricanes forced an opening set tiebreaker, which they controlled from start to finish, 7-6 (7-1).
The pair then jumped out to a commanding 7-6 (7-1), 5-3 advantage, before Bollipallu and Wojcik fought off three match points to force another tiebreaker.
On the brink of heading to a third set, Hannestad and Aubone took four straight points to claim the title, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (8-6).
“These two guys stepped up and played to win under pressure, especially at the end of that second set tiebreaker today,” Piric said. “Those last four points were played with guts and boldness and that’s what we need to be willing to do as a team, all of the time. We will use this win as a catalyst to continue to improve as a team.”
“Benji is a great teammate and a really good player,” Aubone said. “Since our first tournament [this fall], we felt that we could play at this level and we knew before coming to Gainesville we were in the right position to win this tournament.”
Overall, the duo improved to 9-1 as doubles partners this fall and have earned an automatic bid into the 2019 ITA National Fall Championships held Nov. 6-10 in Newport Beach, Calif.
The regional doubles championship also marks the second of Hannestad’s career, as the junior secured both the ITA Southwest Regional singles and doubles titles in 2017 as a freshman at Arizona State.