DeLand, Fla. - The 74th-ranked Stetson men's tennis team (13-3, 4-1 Atlantic Sun) earned five straight set singles victories to roll to a 6-1 win over visiting conference rival Jacksonville (3-13, 1-3 A-Sun) Thursday afternoon at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center. Four Hatters were winners in singles and doubles on the day.
Stetson had to work hard to take the doubles point even after an 8-1 win for junior Didrik Berg (Oslo, Norway) and freshman Nathan Debut (Toulon, France) on Court 3. The Dolphins won the second match to finish, setting the stage for a winner-take-all affair on Court 2. There, freshman Chester Espie (Auckland, New Zealand) and senior Maksim Levanovich (Minsk, Belarus) fought off Matt Hansen and Fernando Bano Lopez 8-6 to put the Hatters ahead 1-0 in the match.
Moving into singles play, Espie quickly made it 2-0 Stetson by shutting out Larry Condez 6-0, 6-0 on Court 6. Berg beat Richard Casagrande 6-2, 6-3 on Court 3 and Debut provided the match-clinching point with his 6-3, 6-2 win over Eimon Haywood on Court 5.
The final two Hatter points of the day came at the top of the lineup, where 113th-ranked Levanovich (competing in his first match as an ITA Top 125 singles player) rallied from an early deficit to defeat Jose Fantova 7-5, 6-0 on Court 1. Senior Njal Stene (Oslo, Norway) came out on top in a pair of tiebreakers for a 7-6, 7-6 victory on Court 2 against Lopez. Eduardo Martinez earned JU's lone point on the day with a win in a Court 4 tiebreaker in lieu of a third set.
"We played an excellent match against a very good Jacksonville squad today," Stetson Director of Tennis Pierre Pilote said. "We will practice hard tomorrow to improve and get ready for what promises to be a great challenge Saturday against UNF."
Stetson is back in action at 2:00 pm Saturday, hosting A-Sun rival North Florida at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center. Live Scoring for that and the preceding Stetson-UNF women's match (10:00 am start) will be available at GoHatters.com.
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