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Canes Sweep Seminoles, 4-0

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – In front of a lively home crowd, the University of Miami men’s tennis team got right back to where they left off, following a two-week hiatus, securing its first top-25 victory of the 2020 spring campaign.
No. 31 Miami extended its winning streak to six matches, moving past No. 25 Florida State, 4-0, Sunday afternoon at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
“Great team win. It is always great to beat Florida State.,” fourth-year head coach Aljosa Piric said. “This is one of the matches that we look forward to playing, because it is a big rivalry match regardless of rankings or implications. It is always going to be a tough one and our guys responded.
“We had a couple weeks of preparation and we were just eager to play,” Piric continued. “We talked about playing together, we talked about unity and embracing adversity. And that is exactly what the guys did. In both doubles and singles, we just competed so well today as a team. I am proud of the guys. We have to use this as a catalyst to continue to work and get better.”
The Hurricanes (10-2, 3-0 ACC) got things rolling in doubles when No. 23 sophomore Franco Aubone and junior Benjamin Hannestad cruised to a 6-0 sweep over Alex Knaff and Loris Pourroy.
However, Florida State (11-3, 2-1 ACC) quickly evened the match when Rana Roop Bhullar and Richard Thongoana bested junior Bojan Jankulovski and senior Stephen Madonia, 6-1.
With all eyes turning to court two, No. 56 sophomore Francisco Bastias and junior Adria Soriano Barrera trailed 1-4 against Sebastian Arcila and Marcus Walters. With the pressure building, the duo remained calm, cool and collected, feeding off of the home crowd’s energy. Overall, the Miami tandem won five consecutive games to secure the advantageous doubles point, 6-4.
Carrying momentum into singles play, Miami quickly doubled its lead when Jankulovski cruised past Walters, 6-3, 6-1.
On court 2, Bastias squared off against Arcila and secured the opening set 6-3, before finding himself in a, 2-4, second-set hole. Returning to the courts for the first time since capturing ACC Player of the Week, the sophomore improved to 10-1 on the year in singles play, winning the final four games, 6-3, 6-4.
The sophomore’s triumph moved Miami just a point away from clinching, as both Hannestad and Soriano Barrera were battling their respective opponents in crucial third sets.
Facing No. 74 Knaff, Soriano Barrera, the nation’s 39th-ranked singles player, was the first Hurricane to complete a set, winning the opener 6-3. However, Knaff evened the playing field with a matching 6-3 second-set triumph.
Falling behind 1-3 in the final set, the Barcelona, Spain, native won the final five games and was met in jubilation by his fellow teammates, as the junior clinched the overall match for Miami, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
The final three matches remained unfinished, with Miami looking to complete comebacks on all three.
Competing on court three, Hannestad rebounded from an opening-set setback and led Pourroy, 3-6, 6-3, 4-2, when play was halted. Meanwhile, after coming up short in an opening-set tiebreaker, Aubone was a game away from forcing a third, trailing 6-7 (5-7), 5-3, against No. 109 Bhullar.
On court six, junior William Grattan-Smith was looking to force a third set, trailing 3-6, 6-5 against Chase Wood.
Overall, the win moved Miami to 3-0 in conference play for the second straight season, the first time the Hurricanes have accomplished the feat since joining the ACC prior to the 2004-05 season.
In addition, the Hurricanes have now won consecutive matches in their series with Florida State for the first time since winning five straight from 1995-2001. Sunday’s sweep marked the 20th by Miami in the series history, while the Canes improved to 50-19 against the Seminoles.
The sweep also marked the eighth of the season for Miami and second in ACC play.
Miami will return to the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on Friday when the Hurricanes welcome second-ranked North Carolina to Coral Gables at 3 p.m.
To keep up with the University of Miami tennis team on social media, follow @CanesMensTennis on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.