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UWF men's tennis wins third national championship in program history

Argonauts defeat Hawai’i Pacific 5-3 in championship match

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ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The University of West Florida men’s tennis team entered the NCAA Division II Championships with a No. 1 national ranking and the favorite to win its third national championship. The Argonauts lived up to their billing and defeated No. 2 Hawai’i Pacific 5-3 in the national championship match at Sanlando Park on Saturday afternoon.

“This is the greatest group of guys,” said UWF head coach and ITA Division II National Coach of the Year Derrick Racine. “They have worked so hard for it. To win it this year, when we’ve been so close the last few years, is a really special feeling.”

The Argonauts (29-0) completed their first ever undefeated season with the win on Saturday, and they had to defeat another previously undefeated team in Hawai’i Pacific (23-1) to do so.

UWF jumped out to a 3-0 lead in doubles, but the wins did not come easy. Bruno Savi (Santana do Livramento, Brazil) and Tony Rajaobelina (Orleans, France), ranked No. 3 in the nation in doubles, defeated No. 1 ranked Petr Michnev and Thibaud Berland at No. 1 doubles by a score of 8-4 to put the Argos up 1-0. Alex Peyrot (Castelnaudary, France) and Felipe Frattini (Sao Paulo, Brazil) made it 2-0 with an 8-5 win over No. 15 ranked Jaume Martinez-Vich and Mattis Wetzel at the No. 2 spot.

The Argos got their third, and ultimately most important, doubles win at the No. 3 spot. Domenico Sano (Macaray, Venezuela) and Elio Latella (Sydney, Australia) were able to outlast Yann Renault and Adriano Locorotondo by a score of 9-8 and needed a 9-7 tiebreaker to clinch the point.

“Doubles was a war out there,” said Racine. “Somehow we pulled out all three doubles. I knew then that it was going to be our day.”

In singles play, Bruno Savi lived up to his No. 1 national ranking by defeating No. 2 Petr Michnev by a score of 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 1 spot. The Argos led 4-1 at that point, but Hawai’i Pacific fought back with wins at the No. 4, 3 and 5 spots, in that order, to make the score 4-3.

The deciding point came down to the wire, as No. 13 Tony Rajaobelina battled No. 15 Jaume Martinez-Vich at the No. 2 spot and Elio Latella faced Clemens Graute at No. 6. Rajaobelina and Latella both had chances to clinch the win, but ultimately it was Rajaobelina to clinch the championship with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 win. Latella was leading 7-5, 6-5 as play concluded.

The national championship is the third for UWF men’s tennis and the eighth across all sports at UWF. The previous two national championships for UWF in men’s tennis came in 2004 and 2005, and those titles were also won at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

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#1 West Florida 5, #2 Hawai'i Pacific 3
May 17, 2014 at Altamonte Springs, Fla.

Singles competition
1. #1 Bruno Savi (UWF) def. #2 Petr Michnev (HPU-MT) 6-2, 6-2
2. #13 Tony Rajaobelina (UWF) def. #15 Jaume Martinez-Vich (HPU-MT) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
3. #35 Thibaud Berland (HPU-MT) def. #11 Alex Peyrot (UWF) 6-3, 6-4
4. Mattis Wetzel (HPU-MT) def. Kenny Brasil (UWF) 6-2, 6-4
5. Adriano Locorotondo (HPU-MT) def. Felipe Frattini (UWF) 6-1, 7-6 (7-3)
6. Elio Latella (UWF) vs. Clemens Graute (HPU-MT) 7-5, 6-5, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. #3 Bruno Savi/Tony Rajaobelina (UWF) def. #1 Petr Michnev/Thibaud Berland (HPU-MT) 8-4
2. Alex Peyrot/Felipe Frattini (UWF) def. #15 Jaume Martinez-Vich/Mattis Wetzel (HPU-MT) 8-5
3. Domenico Sano/Elio Latella (UWF) def. Yann Renault/Adriano Locorotondo (HPU-MT) 9-8 (9-7)

Match Notes
Hawai'i Pacific 23-1; National ranking #2
West Florida 29-0; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,4,3,5,2)
NCAA Division II Championship Match
No. 1 West Florida wins 2014 NCAA Division II Men's Tennis Championship

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