AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific men’s tennis team continued to cruise on Saturday, winning its ninth straight match to keep its perfect record untouched. But it wasn’t all roses in the Cougars’ 7-2 rout of Western New Mexico.
With a team-victory well-in hand No. 6 ranked (NCAA Division II) Jochem Hoefnagels had his 30-match regular season winning streak snapped in a super tie breaker, falling to No. 43 Rodrigo Almeida 6-7, 6-4, 10-4 on court No. 1 in the final match of the day. The loss was the senior captain’s first since April 11, 2011 (and first at home since March 12, 2011), ending his perfect run at 30 matches in the regular season. Hoefnagels defeated Almeida in straight sets in the Cougars’ 6-2 win over the Mustangs on Feb. 9.
Azusa Pacific opened the afternoon with seven consecutive wins, clinching the victory on Gary Yam’s singles win at No. 6. The Cougars swept doubles play, and won the first four singles matches before Hoefnagels and Whitman Hough dropped a pair of super-breakers to close the day. Ben Eger won his 12th straight match with a quick 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Francisco Damasio at No. 4. Eger is now 9-0 this year.
Freshman Jan Meyer lifted his record to 8-0, winning 6-2, 6-1 against Alvaro Nunez at No. 3, while Frederik Wilkens tabbed a three-set victory (6-2, 2-6, 6-1) over Matthieu Covizzi to move to 8-1 on the year. Yam recorded the match-clinching win, beating Nader Murad 6-0, 6-2 in an uncharacteristically fast match. Hough fell in three sets at No. 5, losing a tie breaker 10-5 after splitting the first two sets 4-6, 7-5.
In doubles the No. 24 pair of Yam and Wilkens registered an 8-5 win over Jorge Carretero and Covizzi on court two, and No. 25 Hoefnagels/Meyer beat Nunez/Damasio 8-4. Eger and Hough kicked off the day with an 8-2 win on court three, blasting Almeida and Ulibarri.
The win is the Cougars’ ninth straight to open the season, giving them the program’s best start since 2006 when Azusa Pacific won its first 12 matches of the year. The Cougars will have a chance to extend their streak to 10 when they welcome Hope International to the Munson & Bavougian Tennis Complex for a Monday afternoon tilt.