PASADENA — it certainly didn’t come easy for Will Dixon on Friday afternoon.
The junior Flintridge Prep boys’ tennis player is normally slotted in doubles, but an illness to the Rebels’ top singles player forced the team to rearrange the lineup accordingly.
In stepped the versatile Dixon, who displayed patience and the ability to overcome a huge deficit to record a sweep and help Flintridge Prep register a 12-6 nonleague victory against Maranatha at Muir High.
With Flintridge Prep No. 1 singles player Cartier Juan absent because of an illness, Dixon set the tone for Rebels. Dixon won, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 to help Flintridge Prep improve to 6-2.
Dixon’s biggest and most exhausting victory came against Daniel Hsieh in a set that took about 75 minutes to complete. Dixon overcame a 5-2 deficit to win in a tie-breaker.
“At first, I was hitting my shots long, but then [Flintridge Prep first-year Coach Hratchia Sargsyan] told me I just needed to make some key shots,” Dixon said. “When I was trailing, 5-2, I started to find the sweet spot on the racquet and I was able to rally back. I had to get back into the game mentally. I’ve been pleased with the way the team and I have been playing.”
Dixon’s victory against Hsieh gave Flintridge Prep an 8-6 lead. He then posted a match-clinching 6-0 win against Carter Ossman to give the Rebels the cherished 10th point.
Flintridge Prep excelled in singles, winning eight sets. The Rebels received a sweep from No. 3 singles player Koby Hayashi (6-3, 6-1, 6-0) and two wins from No. 1 player Albert Lee (6-2, 6-1).
“I think we are more organized as a team,” Sargsyan said. “That makes it easier for everybody to learn and absorb things that I’m saying to them.
“Will started to come back in the tiebreaker. [Hsieh] wasn’t giving him anything early on. Will then began to move the ball into the open court and he gained more confidence.”
Flintridge Prep received a pair of doubles wins from Alex Orloff and Josh Kim (6-0, 6-1) and a 6-3 victory from James Nowotny and Shyam Patel.
Maranatha, ranked No. 8 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll, dropped to 4-4. The Minutemen appeared sluggish after suffering a 10-8 loss to Village Christian on Thursday in an Olympic League opener at the Burbank Tennis Center.
Maranatha got a 7-5 singles win from Hsieh. It also received two doubles win each from Chris Chun and Wesley Oliver (6-3, 6-3) and Noah Schlenker and Darren Gee (6-2, 6-2) and one from Colin Dilingham and Kelvin Ye (6-4).
Maranatha Coach Arthur Hsieh said the Minutemen did some things well after recovering from the loss against Village Christian, ranked No. 2 in the division.
“We are starting to come along,” Hsieh said. “I’m pleased with the way they competed.
“We lost a couple of close sets that might have turned the match around. We have some guys who are first-year players. We just have to keep on plugging away and not get discouraged.”