XU newcomer Didavi wins HBCU men's singles title
JONESBORO, Ga. -- Loic Didavi, a junior playing his first tennis tournament for Xavier University of Louisiana, defeated Florida A&M's Levan Clark 6-4, 6-4 Saturday to win the men's singles A-flight of the HBCU National Championships.
Didavi, a transfer from Auburn Montgomery, a two-time NAIA second-team All-American and the No. 3 seed in this event, survived some second-set drama to beat Clark, who was seeded second.
"Clark broke Loic's serve to start the second set, but Loic broke right back to gain control of match," Xavier coach Alan Green said. "Loic got to triple match point at 5-2. He had a little lapse and lost that game and the next one. But he regrouped and closed out the match on his serve."
Didavi defeated the top two seeds. On Friday he beat FAMU's Salif Kante 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals.
"All these years we've been coming here and we never had anyone win the highest flight -- until today," said Green, in his ninth season as Xavier's coach and a former standout player for XU.
Xavier had berths in five finals, but Didavi was the only winner. Sean Richardson lost 6-3, 6-4 to FAMU's Temuera Asafu-Adjaye in men's C-singles. Didavi and Zach Taylor, seeded second in men's A-doubles, lost 8-2 to FAMU's top-seeded Kante and Takura Happy. Richardson and Steffen Giles-Osborn, the No. 2 seed in men's B-doubles, lost 9-7 to FAMU's top-seeded Clark and Chidi Gabriel. And in women's A-doubles, second-seeded Nicole DeLoach and Kourtney Howell lost 8-5 to Southern's top-seeded Lois Alexis and Carlista Mohammed.
Clark and Gabriel beat XU in the semifinals too. They won 8-0 against Amir Rahbar and Viktor Svoboda.
"Everybody played well, including the women. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the Nuggets performed," Green said. "We have some great things to look forward to as long as we continue to grow and put in the work."
Xavier, the only NAIA member in the event, won 29 of 46 matches. The Gold Rush were 20-8, and the Gold Nuggets were 9-9. Both teams will be back in Georgia next Friday and Saturday for the USTA/ITA NAIA South Regional in Atlanta.