The Elon University men’s tennis team opened up Southern Conference play with a 7-0 win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Saturday, March 1.

“We got on top of them and stayed on top of them,” Elon coach Michael Leonard said. “We had a tough one yesterday, and to get out here today and actually jump on top of a team I think builds up confidence.”

The Phoenix took control of the match in the early-going, winning all three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead.  Senior Cameron Silverman and junior Jordan Kaufman defeated senior Jorge Varon and sophomore John Peacey 8-2 at No. 1 doubles.

“I came out really strong, which sometimes I can come out a little unfocused, and played really good doubles,” Silverman said.

Minutes later, juniors Stefan Fortmann and Juan Madrid defeated freshmen Austin Boaz and Derrick Brown at No. 3 doubles 8-5 to clinch the doubles point for the Phoenix. Junior Brian Kowalski and sophomore Robert Lindgren completed the doubles shutout with their 8-5 win over junior Pavels Grigorjevs and sophomore Gino Delavalle at No. 2.

Elon continued to roll into the singles portion of the match.  Sophomore Ismael Sanchez Deflin made quick work of Brown at No. 6 singles winning 6-1, 6-0.  Over at No. 4 singles, Kaufman eased past Peacey winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-0. Lindgren’s 6-0, 6-2 straight sets win over Grigorjevs clinched the win for Elon.

With the outcome no longer in question, Silverman continued the shutout with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Varon at No. 1 singles.  Madrid made it 6-0 defeating Boaz in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 at No. 5 singles. Kowalski completed the shutout with a 3-6, 6-2, 10-5 win over Delvalle at No. 3 singles.

“We’re more consistent playing beginning to end,” Leonard said. “I was happy with our consistent play throughout the day.”

On Friday Feb. 28 at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center, Elon halted a late comeback by Brown University to win, 4-3. Fortmann won a decisive third set over William Spector at No. 4 singles to seal the victory.

The Phoenix got on the board first by taking the doubles point.  Things did not look good from the start as Fortmann and Madrid lost at No. 3 doubles 8-2 to freshman Gregory Garcia and junior Daniel Hirschberg.

But Kowalski and Lindgren tied things up for Elon winning, at No. 2 doubles 8-4 over seniors Brandon Burke and Sam Fife. Silverman and Kaufman clinched the doubles point for the Phoenix, edging out sophomore Lucas Da Silveira and junior Justin To 8-5 at No. 1 doubles.

Kaufman put Elon up 2-0 with his win at No. 5 singles.  The junior brushed past Fife at No. 5 singles 6-2, 6-4. Soon after, Silverman completed his straight sets win at No. 1 singles, defeating To 6-3, 6-4.

Brown finally got on the board, closing its deficit to 3-1. Lindgren fought back to earn a third set, but his efforts proved futile as Burke came out on top 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.  Kowalski also forced a third set, but also failed to complete the comeback, losing to Garcia at No. 2 singles 6-1, 3-6, 7-6. Hirschberg helped Brown tie things up with his win over Madrid at No. 6 singles 6-3, 6-7, 6-2.

With the contest knotted at three apiece, the deciding point would come down No. 4 singles.  Fortmann won the first set, but dropped the second forcing a winner-take-all third.  The South Africa native prevented an epic collapse as the Phoenix escaped with the victory.

The Phoenix will have a week off before returning to the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center for a pair of Southern Conference matchups against Samford University on Saturday, March 8, and Davidson College March 9. Both matches are scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

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