MOBILE, Ala. -- Azusa Pacific has been here before and it knows that the pressure rises daily along with the stakes.
The Cougars were poised yet ready to strike and dispatched an overwhelmed Berry (Ga.) team, 5-0, to advance to the semifinals of the NAIA Championship Tournament on Wednesday at the Mobile Tennis Center.
One of only 2 teams that have not dropped a match at the tournament, the Cougars were again dominant a day after dismantling Point Loma Nazarene. But they know that the success they have enjoyed will now be much harder to come by.
“These teams are tough and each match is challenging,” said head coach Mark Bohren. “I was happy with our guys today. They played great and now we have to be mentally and physically ready to improve our play each day of the tournament.”
Art Fatkiev has played at a high level this week and gave his team another win in singles play winning at No. 6 over Adam Clifton, 6-3, 6-1 to clinch the win. If Fatkiev had faltered in that game, Boris Bakalov was waiting in the wings only 2 points away from winning his match at No. 1.
Patrick Kur was the first off the court wrapping his match up over Christian Jackle, 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2.
Up next for the Cougars is Freed-Hardeman in one semifinal while Auburn Montgomery and Embry Riddle face off in the other. The Lions – out of the TranSouth Conference – have beaten Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and Fresno Pacific to reach this point.
Azusa Pacific’s record now stands at 25-1 while Berry wraps up the season with a 13-11 mark.
#1 - Boris Bakalov (APU) vs. Diego Cerzosimo (BC), 6-2, 5-0 DNF
#2 - Patrick Kur (APU) def. Christian Jackle (BC), 6-2, 6-1
#3 - David Goodman (APU) vs. Andre Ferreira (BC), 6-1, 3-5 DNF
#4 - Tom Jelsma (APU) vs. Marcelo Lebrao (BC), 6-4, 1-0 DNF
#5 - Cole Billings (APU) vs. Philip Campbell (BC), 6-3, 2-1 DNF
#6 - Art Fatkiev (APU) def. Adam Clifton (BC), 6-3, 6-1
#1 - Bakalov/Jelsma (APU) def. Jackle/Ferreira (BC), 8-4
#2 - Kur/Fatkiev (APU) def. Cerzosimo/Campbell (BC), 8-3
#3 - Goodman/Billings (APU) def. Lebrao/Clifton (BC), 8-3