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May 6, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - In front of a boisterous crowd, the fourth-ranked USC Upstate men's tennis team swept the doubles competition and got two straight set singles victories to take a 5-0 victory over seventh-ranked Lander in the 2007 NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Tournament Mid-Atlantic Regional championship match at the USC Upstate Tennis Complex.
Upstate (22-4) advances to the 16-team NCAA Division II Nationals held May 9-12 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The Spartans are making their second consecutive trip to Nationals and the third in the last four years. The Spartans will be joined by the Upstate women's team which defeated Columbus State Friday to advance to the women's Nationals. Lander ends its season with an 18-7 record.
"We worked rally hard the last two weeks to concentrate on our doubles," said Upstate head coach Alessandro De Marzo. "We wanted to make a statement in doubles and we were able to sweep today and go up 3-0 heading into singles."
Indeed, the Spartans gained control of the match with a doubles sweep over Lander. Sebastian Gonzales-Orbegoso and Leandro Osorio teamed to take an 8-5 victory over Andre Ivarsson and Carlos Benatzky at the No. 3 position. Stefan Dumitrescu and Renzo Airaldi took an 8-6 victory at the No. 1 position. Sandy Franz and Javier Tori opened a 6-3 lead in their doubles match against T.C. Valle and Henrik Willers at the No. 2 slot, but saw Valle and Willers fight back to within 7-6. However, Franz and Tori closed out the match to take an 8-6 win and give Upstate a 3-0 lead heading into singles play.
In singles play, Dumitrescu, ranked No. 8 in the nation, breezed through the first set with a 6-2 victory en route to a straight set 6-2, 6-2 win over 29th-ranked Legros at the No. 1 position. Jack Roux claimed a 6-2 win in the first set over Nick Tzekos at the No. 6 slot. However, Lander claimed first set wins at the No. 3, 4, and 5 positions to put pressure on the Spartans.
At No. 2 singles, Upstate's Sandy Franz, ranked No. 25 in the nation, fell behind 4-1 before rallying for a 7-5 win over Guilherme Fonseca, giving Upstate the upper hand in two matches and needing to win just one to clinch the team match.
Roux would be the man to clinch the match and a spot in the Nationals for Upstate. Down 4-1 in the second set, he stormed back to take a 6-5 lead and broke serve to win the set 7-5 and deliver the match to the Spartans.
"I feel amazing right now," said Roux. "I got down 4-1 and everyone kept talking to me, cheering for me. I came back. It's amazing."