ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (May 15, 2009) – The No. 1-ranked and defending DII national champion Armstrong Atlantic State men's tennis team will play for a possible back-to-back national title on Saturday after closing out a 5-1 win over No. 6 Hawaii Pacific on Friday at Sanlando Park.
Doubles play began with the Pirates (29-1) taking an early break in all three matches. Rafael Array and Tim Johannsen closed out an 8-4 win over Hendrik Bode and Sebastian Bader at No. 2 doubles to give AASU a point. But the Hawaii Pacific (16-5) team of Aleksandar Markov and Jan Hroch erased a 7-4 deficit to pick up a 9-7 win over Eudaldo Bonet and Akos Torok at No. 3 doubles.
That threw all the attention at No. 1 singles, where fifth-ranked Paul Bishop and Mikk Irdoja fought off two match points during a tiebreaker to take the match over Daniel Luedi and Nikola Petrov, 9-8 (9-7).
The Pirates then got off to a great start in singles with five out of six first-set wins. No. 2-ranked Bonet gave AASU its first singles point with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 28-ranked Petrov at No. 1 singles. Johannsen then followed with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Hroch at No. 6 singles. No. 50-ranked Paul Fitzgerald (pictured) followed with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 37-ranked Luedi at No. 4 singles to clinch the match and send AASU into the finals.