Feb. 23, 2009

Courtesy of Armstrong Atlantic

SAVANNAH, Ga. - The top-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State men's tennis team received its stiffest test of the 2009 season on Sunday, but prevailed against No. 16 Columbus State, 6-3, in Peach Belt Conference action at the AASU Tennis Complex.

The Pirates (7-0, 4-0 PBC) stretched its current match win streak to 38 with the victory, but it wasn't easy against the Cougars (3-2, 1-2 PBC).

AASU won two doubles matches, taking an 8-4 win by Paul Bishop and Mikk Irdoja over Dimitri Caron and Paul van Rensburg at No. 2 doubles, then an 8-6 win by Edualdo Bonet and Paul Fitzgerald over Nemanja Djuric and Diego Motivar at No. 3 doubles.

But the 16th-ranked duo of Luis Gonzalez and Frank Suarez upset the 8th-ranked duo of Tim Johannsen and Rafael Array, 8-6, at No. 1 doubles. Johannsen, struggling with an injured ankle, was forced to step out of the singles lineup, meaning the Pirates and the Cougars went into singles play all square at 2-2.

Bonet, the top-ranked player in the nation, quickly put the Pirates back up in the match with a 6-2, 6-1 win over No. 23-ranked Suarez at No. 1 singles. With the Pirates trailing in two other singles matches after the first set, AASU got straight set wins from Irdoja - 6-1, 6-4 over Djuric at No. 3 singles - and Fitzgerald, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over van Rensburg at No. 5 singles, to clinch the match.

Bishop rallied at No. 2 singles to win over Caron, 4-6, 6-3, (10-6) for the Pirates' last point, while Motivar picked up an upset of No. 37-ranked Array, 6-3, 7-5, at No. 4 singles for the Cougars' last point.

AASU returns to action on Tuesday, February 24, with a 2:00 p.m. Peach Belt Conference match against No. 13 GCSU in Milledgeville, Ga.