MOBILE, Ala. — Xavier University of Louisiana's Loic Didavi won the final 11 games Saturday in a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Graceland's Laurentsi Arakhamiya in the NAIA men's singles fifth-place match of the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships.
Didavi won his final two matches in straight sets after a three-set loss to top-seeded Chris Freeman of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) on Thursday in the opening round. Didavi dominated against Arakhamiya, losing only the second game and earning five straight service breaks thereafter.
"Loic hit many deep shots to keep Arakhamiya on the defensive," XU coach Alan Green said.
Didavi is a junior from Cotonou, Benin — a coastal city in West Africa — and was a second-team NAIA All-American each of the past two seasons at Auburn Montgomery. He transferred to Xavier in August.
"Yes, I am feeling pretty good right now," Didavi said. "I am pretty confident in my tennis. I practiced a lot this summer, and I am playing my best right now."
Didavi has won 17 of 20 matches for the Gold Rush — 10-1 in singles, 7-2 with All-America Zach Taylor in doubles — and credits his coach for his success.
"Coach Green gives me all the confidence to be able to play good," Didavi said. "He has me on the court a lot and has worked with me a lot. He has worked with me a lot off the court too."
Didavi and Taylor were 2-1 in doubles at this tournament. They won the third-place match Friday.
"I'm proud of the way Loic and Zach performed here," Green said. "This is something we've never accomplished before, and although they were the only participants from our team, all the other guys are excited because they know that we have a really good team this year."
Freeman beat Oklahoma Christian's second-seeded Bruno Tiberti 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the NAIA singles final to advance to additional competition this weekend against bracket winners from NCAA Division II and III and junior colleges.