AZUSA, Calif. -- With or without rest, the NAIA’s No. 4-ranked Azusa Pacific remained sharp by returning to action after a week off with a 9-0 win over Hope International Friday afternoon at the Munson Bavougian Tennis Complex.
The Cougars won all 3 doubles matches by a combined 24-8 score, and 5 of the 6 singles matches were decided in straight sets. The victory came on the heels of a week off that provided recovery time for an Azusa Pacific squad that completed 8 dual matches over an 11-day stretch last week.
Azusa Pacific’s top doubles tandem, junior Janosch Apelt and sophomore Jochem Hoefnagels, ran their doubles record to 13-1 with an 8-2 win at the top of the lineup, and the No. 2 team of juniors Ilja Ikonnikov and Whitman Hough improved to 10-3 together in doubles with their 8-4 win. Rounding out the doubles sweep was an 8-1 result at No. 3 from a freshman tandem of Ben Eger and Frederik Wilkens.
Hoefnagels played the No. 1 singles position for the first time in his career, posting a 6-3, 6-1 win over Tyrone La Reservee. Junior Ilja Ikonnikov played No. 2 singles for the first time since his 2009 freshman campaign, and he delivered a 6-0, 6-1 win.
At No. 3, Eger picked up his sixth straight win and his fourth consecutive in straight sets, with a 6-1, 6-1 decision against Ivan Rashkov. Hough was the Cougars’ only player to go to a third set, and he easily took care of the pro-set tiebreaker with a 10-4 win, completing a 3-set victory. Wilkens became the third Cougar to reach 10 singles victories, posting a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 5, while sophomore Alex Dickson was the only Azusa Pacific player who did not surrender a single game. Dickson’s 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 6 was his third victory in singles play in 2011.
With the win, Azusa Pacific has a 4-match winning streak, and the Cougars improve to 11-3 overall, 7-1 GSAC. Hope International falls to 2-11 overall and 0-8 GSAC.
Five of Azusa Pacific’s final 7 matches are at home, starting with a Monday, March 28 matchup with the NAIA’s top-ranked Fresno Pacific.