AZUSA, Calif.-- It may have been a 6-3 win, but the NAIA’s No. 4 ranked Azusa Pacific knows it could have easily gone the other way. Senior Janosch Apelt played in two critical matches, winning each by just a game, to help the Cougars capture a win over No. 11 Concordia on the road.
The pair of Apelt and Jochem Hoefnagels registered a 9-8 win over Bruno Santarelli and Gernot Hagemann in the No. 1 doubles match before Apelt took a three-set victory over Santarelli (3-6, 6-3, 7-6) in the No. 1 singles match. Had both of those matches gone the other way, the Cougars would be headed back with their first loss, but instead they're 3-0 and feeling good.
“It was a good way to start the week off,” said head coach Mark Bohren. “We didn’t play our best tennis but we competed extremely well. Janosch played very well and was able to gut through a three-set win.”
Fellow senior Ilja Ikonnikov also recorded a pair of wins, including an exciting two-set victory (7-5, 6-4) over Jan Guler in the No. 5 position. In No. 3 doubles Gary Yam and Ikonnikov took an 8-4 win over Concordia’s Patrick Szeremeta and Ashkon Babaee.
The Eagles got their only doubles win when Guler and Rafael Coutinho took an 8-4 decision over Frederik Wilkens and Ben Eger.
Going into singles play with a 2-1 lead the Cougars got wins from Apelt and Ikonnikov, but also registered victories with Hoefnagels' 6-2, 6-2 win and Yam’s three-set defeat of Micah Groom (3-6, 6-4, 6-1). Eger fell to Hagemann in a brutally close 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 loss, while Coutinho posted a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Wilkens.
Tomorrow Azusa Pacific travels to Fresno Pacific and comes back to welcome Grand Canyon (Ariz.) on Friday before heading to Vanguard for a road match on Saturday.