MOBILE, Ala. -- After a 1-hour rain delay, second-seeded Azusa Pacific made quick work of unseeded Lee (Tenn.) to post a 5-1 win, beating a second, much stronger rain shower that passed over the Mobile Tennis Center and forced a pair of unfinished matches indoors in the quarterfinal round of the 56th Annual NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship Wednesday afternoon.
For the second straight day, Azusa Pacific won 2 of 3 doubles matches, and again it was the opposition’s No. 1 doubles tandem that posted a narrow victory over the Cougars’ top doubles pair of Patrick Kur and Mathias Weber. Kur recorded back-to-back aces to tie the match at 5-5, but Lee’s Dimitar Pamukchiyan and Caio Borges won 3 straight to cut Azusa Pacific’s lead to 2-1 heading into singles play.
Art Fatkhiev gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead after a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 6 singles. Matthijs Bolsius, who yesterday posted a straight-sets victory in his NAIA Tournament debut, came back with a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles to put Azusa Pacific 1 point away from its fifth straight NAIA semifinals appearance.
David Goodman had an opportunity to close out the match after jumping out to a 5-1 lead in the second set after a 6-3 first-set victory, but Pamukchiyan fought off a pair of match points to cut the lead to 5-2. Two courts over, Weber finished off the match with a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles over Borges.
The other singles contests appeared to be headed the Cougars’ way, as well. At No. 2 singles, Kur dropped the opening set, 6-3, but held a 5-2 lead in the second set, and Ronald Chow came back from a 3-1 first-set deficit for an exciting 7-6 win. Chow trailed 3-1 when the rain first hit to hold up play in the morning, but he came back from the break for the opening-set win and led 2-0 in the second when the match concluded.
Goodman and Bolsius won 4 straight games to close out their No. 2 doubles match with an 8-2 win, and Chow and Robby Dabbs were first on the board with an 8-1 win at the third doubles spot for the Cougars.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 26-3 on the season, advancing to a quarterfinal matchup with third-seeded Embry-Riddle (Fla.). A victory would send the Cougars to the NAIA championship match for the fifth consecutive season. Lee finishes the season with a 15-5 final record.
Updated results and tournament recaps can be found at the following page on the NAIA's official website, www.naia.org: http://naia.cstv.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/091905aac.html
#1 - Goodman (APU) vs. Pamukchiyan (Lee) - 6-3, 5-2, DNF
#2 - Kur (APU) vs. Victoratto (Lee) - 3-6, 5-2, DNF
#3 - Weber (APU) def. Borges (Lee) - 6-0, 6-1
#4 - Bolsius (APU) def. Saa (Lee) - 6-3, 6-1
#5 - Chow (APU) vs. Thobo-Carlsen (Lee) - 7-6, 2-0, DNF
#6 - Art Fatkhiev (APU) def. Figueieredo (Lee) - 6-2, 6-0
#1 - Dimitar Pamukchiyan/Caio Borges (Lee) def. Patrick Kur/Mathias Weber (APU), 8-5
#2 - David Goodman/Matthijs Bolsius (APU) def. Sidney Victoratto/Alex Figueieredo (Lee), 8-2
#3 - Ronald Chow/R. Dabbs (APU) def. Juan Saa/Christian Thobo-Carlsen (Lee), 8-1