MOBILE, Ala. -- Azusa Pacific’s run of 5 straight national title match appearances came to an end with a 5-1 defeat to 2-time defending NAIA champion Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) in Thursday’s semifinals at the 57th Annual NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship.
The Cougars waited a year for a rematch of the 2007 NAIA title match with Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), and the fourth-seeded Cougars wasted little time assuring it would not suffer the same 5-0 defeat it tasted in each of the past 2 national title matches with the Senators.
A year ago, Azusa Pacific’s No. 2 doubles team had a 7-5 lead, needing just 1 game to salvage at least 1 point from doubles play, but the Cougars surrendered 4 straight games to suffer a momentum-killing doubles sweep to Auburn Montgomery, which clinched the 2007 NAIA championship with 2 quick singles victories.
Thursday’s doubles matches played out nearly identically to last year’s, with Auburn Montgomery picking up the No. 1 and 3 doubles matches by a combined 16-3 margin. However, Azusa Pacific’s No. 2 doubles tandem of Patrick Kur and Mathias Weber used a crucial service break in the midst of a 3-game run to take a 7-4 lead, and the pair held serve to pick up the doubles point with an 8-5 win.
Kur took the opening set from Alberto Gonzales, but he was the only Cougar to win a set in singles play. Weber suffered a 6-1, 6-2 defeat at No. 3 singles to Victor Sanaki Papi, who clinched last year’s national championship for Auburn Montgomery with a second-set tiebreaker win that gave the Senators the decisive fifth point in the title match. This time, Sanaki Papi’s quick victory gave his team a 3-1 lead, and Javier Redondo put Azusa Pacific on the brink of elimination with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Ronald Chow at the No. 4 position. The match was clinched at the No. 1 spot, when Daniel Plasa posted a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Matthijs Bolsius.
Azusa Pacific’s campaign ends with a 20-8 overall record, while Auburn Montgomery advances to Friday’s title match to face the winner of this evening’s other semifinal match between Fresno Pacific and Embry-Riddle (Fla.).
Auburn Montgomery 5, Azusa Pacific 1
1. Daniel Plasa (AUM) def. Matthijs Bolsius (APU), 6-4, 6-1
2. Patrick Kur (APU) vs. Alberto Gonzales (AUM), DNF
3. Victor Sanaki Papi (AUM) def. Mathias Weber (APU), 6-1, 6-2
4. Javier Redondo (AUM) def. Ronald Chow (APU), 6-4, 6-3
5. Daniel Moore (APU) vs. Tim Mudrick (AUM), DNF
6. Jan Friedrich (APU) vs. Nickola Mickovic (AUM), DNF
1. Gonzales/Redondo (AUM) def. Bolsius/Robby Dabbs (APU), 8-2
2. Kur/Weber (APU) def. Mickovic/Sanaki Papi (AUM), 8-5
3. Mudrick/Plasa (AUM) def. Chow/Moore (APU), 8-1