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Spartans Post 6-1 Win In Drama-Filled Match With Hatters

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Senior Renzo Airaldi posted a huge two-set win over Stetson on Thursday to clinch Upstate's win over the Hatters.

Senior Renzo Airaldi posted a huge two-set win over Stetson on Thursday to clinch Upstate's win over the Hatters.

April 1, 2010

Final Stats

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - It took some determined effort, including an inspired two-set win at No. 2 singles by senior Renzo Airaldi and three three-set singles wins by the No. 52 USC Upstate men's tennis team, as it posted a 6-1 win over regionally-ranked Stetson in Atlantic Sun Conference action on Thursday afternoon at the USC Upstate Tennis Complex, moving the Spartans' magic number to just one in order to capture a piece of its first A-Sun regular-season title.

With the win, Upstate (16-5 overall, 8-0 A-Sun) needs just one more win in its final two matches to earn a piece of its first A-Sun title, which it can do when FGCU comes to the USC Upstate Tennis Complex at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The Spartans can clinch an outright title if they beat FGCU on Tuesday if they can beat Campbell when it comes to the Upstate Tennis Complex.

"I am very proud of this team," Upstate head coach Alessandro De Marzo said. "They stayed poised against a very good Stetson team. They fought back in sets, in games, in points and in matches. This was a very good win for the program and now we are two steps away from our goal - an outright conference title."

The Spartans clinched an emotional doubles point in dramatic style, as the No. 3 team of sophomores Edgar Rodriguez and Ramiro Blanco posted a 9-7 win over Mark Mestan and Njal Stene by winning its final two games to claim the match. Seniors Renzo Airaldi and Javier Tori controlled the latter half of their match at No. 1 against Didrik Berg and Chris Swanteson, as they posted a break to take a 4-2 lead, but the Hatters (18-4 overall, 7-2 A-Sun) duo broke right back to tie the match at four before Airaldi and Tori posted four straight wins to claim the match.

The Hatters, ranked eighth in the Southeast Region, tied the match with a two-set win at No. 5, but the Spartans had already won four first sets to take control of the match. Airaldi, who entered the match at 6-16 in singles play this season, came from 5-2 down at No. 2 to win three straight games and win a tiebreaker over Mark Mestan, 7-4. On court four, senior Jack Roux also made a comeback from 5-4 down to post a 7-5 win over Didrik Berg.

Soon after the loss at No. 5, the Spartans rallied, with Roux finishing his win with a 6-3 second set win over Didrik Berg. In No. 1 singles, Rodriguez rode a rollercoaster of emotions, coming from behind to post a 6-4 first-set win before falling 1-6 in the second set. In the third, he played solidly, broke early and took a 6-4 win over Maksim Levanovich to give Upstate a 3-1 lead. Airaldi served for the match moments later, beating Mestan, 6-2, in the third set to clinch the win for Upstate.

The Spartans wrapped up the match with two more three-set wins, as Tori gritted out a come-from-behind win over regionally-ranked Cesare Gallo, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) at No. 3 and junior Marco Linconir added a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win over Njal Stene at No. 6.

Tennis Match Results
#52 USC Upstate 6, Stetson 1
 Singles competition
1. Edgar Rodriguez (UPSTM) def. Maksim Levanovich (STET) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
2. Renzo Airaldi (UPSTM) def. Mark Mestan (STET) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
3. Javier Tori (UPSTM) def. Cesare Gallo (STET) 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Jack Roux (UPSTM) def. Didrik Berg (STET) 7-5, 6-3
5. Alex Hackett (STET) def. Ramiro Blanco (UPSTM) 7-5, 6-2
6. Marco Linconir (UPSTM) def. Njal Stene (STET) 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
 Doubles competition 
1. Renzo Airaldi/Javier Tori (UPSTM) def. Didrik Berg/
Chris Swanteson (STET) 8-4
2. Maksim Levanovich/Cesare Gallo (STET) def. Marco Linconir/
Jack Roux (UPSTM) 8-6
3. Edgar Rodriguez/Ramiro Blanco (UPSTM) def. Mark Mestan/
Njal Stene (STET) 9-7
Match Notes:
Stetson 18-4, 7-2 A-Sun; Regional ranking #8
USC Upstate 16-5, 8-0 A-Sun; National ranking #52
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,4,1,2,3,6)
T-4:00  A-102    
USC Upstate Men's Tennis
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