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Fanda Stejskal lost both of his matches at the All-American Tournament in Stone Mountain, Ga., over the weekend against very strong players. (Stefan Miltchev/DP File Photo)

Chosen as a member of the All-Ivy first team last year, Fanda Stejskal has proven that he is among the best tennis players in the Ancient Eight. Last weekend, in the All-American Tennis Classic, Stejskal got the chance to raise his level of competition one more notch. Stejskal's regional results earned him a spot in the main draw of the tournament, pitting him against some of the nation's top collegiate players. He started out strong against Louisville's Tvrtko Kujundzic, the nation's 74th-ranked player, by gaining a 5-4 lead in the first set. However, the Penn junior failed to win his service and lost a tough tie-breaker. He proceeded to lose the match, 7-6(5), 6-2. "I should have won the first set," Stejskal said, "and after that it was all downhill." In the consolation round, Stejskal met an even tougher opponent in 51st-ranked David Martin of Stanford. Stejskal dropped that match 6-2, 6-4. Stejskal in part attributes his losses this weekend to his poor showing in the service game. Penn men's tennis coach Mark Riley, however, believes that Stejskal must improve his ability to close out matches. "When he has the opportunities, he has to finish them," Riley said. It is very possible that Stejskal's lack of play this summer in the wake of surgery on his elbow has weakened these aspects of his game so far in the fall campaign. Stejskal is next scheduled to lead the Quakers in the Penn Conference Classic this weekend at the Lott Courts and Levy Pavilion. Riley is optimistic about Stejskal's role in the upcoming tournament. "Fanda is a better player than his results show this year," Riley said. "His singles results have helped get Penn back in the national spotlight." Stejskal admits that he prefers playing with the team to individual tournament play. "There's definitely less pressure to play alone," Stejskal said."But it's more fun to play with the team because of the atmosphere." Indeed, Stejskal should enjoy this weekend as he not only will have the chance to play with the team but also to showcase Penn men's tennis in its own backyard.

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