SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- After helping Azusa Pacific capture its first ever men’s tennis national championship in May, senior Boris Bakalov continued his outstanding year by winning the men’s singles title at the Wilson/ITA Regional Championship held last weekend on the campus of Point Loma Nazarene, in San Diego, Calif.
Bakalov, a 3-time All-American, did not lose a set and won the title after Vanguard’s Dieter Weislmair retired from the championship match trailing 6-3, 1-0. Bakalov was outstanding throughout the tournament. He did not drop a set and found himself truly tested only once in his second round match against Craig Johnson of Point Loma Nazarene. Bakalov held Johnson at bay in a 6-3, 6-4 win that propelled him into the quarterfinals.
There he met up with Anthony Zafris of Fresno Pacific. Bakalov made quick work of the match defeating Zafris 6-1, 6-1 to move 1 step closer to the finals. In the semi-finals, his opponent was Zafris’ teammate Matt Carroll who had only dropped 8 games in his first 3 matches.
Bakalov steamrolled Carroll, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to the championship match. Bakalov, who was the Cougars’ number 2 singles player last season, then claimed victory after Weislmair retired after the first game of the second set.
Bakalov now qualifies for the ITA National Small College Championship tournament that will be held in Fort Myers, Fla. from Oct. 13-16. This championship is the only national tournament for singles and doubles at the NAIA level.
Bakalov is 1 of 8 regional champions from which a national (divisional) champion will be determined. If he can capture that title, he would move on to the weekend portion of play that would decide the ITA National Small College Champions, who then earn a spot into the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, a Division I event in November.
Last season, Bakalov became the first member of the Azusa Pacific program to win the tournament. His repeat win solidifies his position as 1 of the top NAIA players in the country.
The event was presented by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) and administered by the ITA.