AZUSA, Calif.-- After winning the first match the NAIA’s 4th ranked Azusa Pacific dropped four of its next five before suffering a 6-3 defeat against No. 1 Fresno Pacific on Thursday. The Cougars (17-2, 9-2), who were previously 11-0 at the Munson & Bavougian Tennis Complex, got all three of their wins from Jochem Hoefnagels and Janosch Apelt while the Sunbirds (19-1) posted straight set victories in all but one of the remaining matches to improve to 12-0 in conference play.
Hoefnagels opened the day with his 19th straight win, defeating Kirill Sinitsyn 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 singles to put Azusa Pacific ahead 1-0. Then after the Sunbirds took three in a row Apelt notched his eighth victory in a row, beating Xavier Smith in three sets (6-4, 1-6, 6-2) to make it a 4-2 match.
In doubles Apelt and Hoegnagels cruised to a quick win at No. 1, blasting Smith and Cledson Carvahlo 8-1 to cut the Cougars’ deficit to 4-3. The Sunbirds, however, closed the day with two straight wins to post their second win over Azusa Pacific this season.
Gary Yam took a three-set loss at No. 6, falling to Lloyd Bruce-Burgess 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, while Ilja Ikonnikov lost 6-1, 6-3 to Amrarit Sanchez. Ben Eger dropped a two-set match to Nathan Martinet 6-4, 6-2 and Frederik WIlkens nearly pushed his contest to three sets before falling 6-4, 7-5 to Carvahlo at No. 3.
In doubles Martinet and Sinitsyn beat Yam and Wilkens 8-4, while Sanchez and Bruce-Burgess defeated Eger and Ikonnikov 8-4.
The loss breaks Azusa Pacific’s 14-match winning streak. The Cougars have a chance to start a new one tomorrow when the host Abilene Christian (Texas) at 1:15 p.m.