MOBILE, Ala. -- Xavier University of Louisiana's second-seeded Loic Didavi and Zach Taylor defeated Olivet Nazarene's Sebastian Esquetini and Diego Gonsalvez 6-4, 6-2 Thursday in the opening round of doubles in the NAIA division of the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships.
Didavi, however, suffered his first loss in nine singles matches for the Gold Rush when top-seeded Chris Freeman of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) defeated him 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.
Didavi and Taylor broke Esquetini and Gonsalvez to take a 4-2 lead in the first set. The XU tandem has won six of seven matches this fall.
"Loic and Zach were steady," Xavier coach Alan Green said. "Then they picked up their intensity in the second set and got a couple more service breaks."
Didavi-Freeman was the only one of four singles matches in the NAIA division to go three sets. "It was a pretty close match," Green said. "Freeman made a couple of big shots in the last set which made the difference. He broke Loic to go up 6-5 in the third."
Didavi and Taylor will play Fresno Pacific's third-seeded Cledson Carvalho and Nathan Martinet in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday. Didavi will play fourth-seeded Vladislav Khudziy of Huntington (Ind.) in the singles consolation semifinals at 8:30 a.m. Friday