NORFOLK, Va. – Freshman Flavian Fernandez rallied from a deficit in the third set of the last match of the afternoon to give the Norfolk State men’s tennis team a 4-3 win over rival Hampton on Tuesday at the NSU Tennis Complex.
The Pirates pulled off a rally of their own to win the doubles point before NSU won the first two singles matches to tie the contest up at 2-2. Hampton won its only contested singles match before the Spartans earned their third victory to tie the score at 3-3. Fernandez then pulled off the late comeback for the win.
Facing Miguel Suarez at No. 5 singles, Fernandez fell in the first set 6-3 before winning the second set, 6-1. Then in the third, Fernandez was up 3-2 before Suarez won the next two sets. Facing the possibility of falling behind 5-3, Fernandez instead tied the set at 4-4 after rallying from down 40-love.
Suarez went ahead 5-4 before Fernandez broke serve and took the last three sets for a 7-5 victory.
The victory moved NSU to 2-0 in the MEAC Northern Division and 4-12 overall. Hampton dropped to 3-8 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
The Pirates had the early lead in the match thanks to winning the doubles point. NSU’s short-handed lineup forced a default loss at the third doubles position, while Fernandez and freshman Benedikt Henning topped Matt Foster-Estwick and Fedor Shirin by a 6-3 score at the first slot.
But at the second spot, Peter Odegbami and Charles Hudson pulled off a late rally of their own to win 7-5 and give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.
NSU default at No. 6 singles, while Henning earned a 6-2, 6-2 win over Foster-Estwick at the top spot in the lineup. Pejic earned a 6-3, 6-3 win over Odegbami at the third position to tie the match at 2-2 before Hudson topped Singh at No. 4 singles, 6-3 and 6-4.
Freshman Dan Dumitrascu won the first set tiebreaker, 7-2, to win the first set by a 7-6 score over Shirin at No. 2 singles. Dumitrascu won the second set, 6-2, to again tie the contest at 3-3 before Fernandez won the final singles match with the pressure on.
“After losing match points to lose the doubles point, the guys responded well in singles,” said head coach Worth Richardson. “Flavian really stepped up and looked more like a seasoned veteran than a freshman, especially after trailing 5-4 in the third and deciding set.”
NSU will play at Howard on Friday at 1 p.m. in another MEAC test for the Spartans.
Originally posted on NSUSpartans.com.