NORCROSS, Ga. – Cumberland won both contested singles matches and Na’im Azhar finished off the match with a straight-set victory in singles in the 16th-ranked Bulldogs 5-0 win over SCAD-Atlanta in the NAIA Qualifying Tournament here at The Racquet Club of the South.
With the win the Bulldogs (16-1) advance to the tournament final and will face eighth-ranked Xavier [LA] University at Noon Central Time on Saturday. The winner earns and automatic berth into the NAIA Championships set for May 15-19 in Mobile, Ala.
SCAD had just five players in the lineup, giving up points at No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles. Azhar and Devin Crotzer broke at 3-2 and 6-3 at No. 2 doubles against Mikaiah Vea and Julian Guzman, winning 8-3.
At No. 1 SCAD’s Jack Anton and Richard Brej outlasted Pedro Rodrigues and Evan Sanna in a game that featured at least 10 deuces, with the Bees holding serve, and then Rodrigues double-faulted twice in the next game and Anton-Brej broke for a 4-3 lead. CU battled back, breaking at 6-7 before Rodrigues held serve this time and then the Bulldogs broke again for a 9-7 victory.
Azhar made easy work of Anton at No. 1 singles, winning 6-2, 6-0, for the final point of the match. Sanna split sets with Brej at No. 2, while Rodrigues won a first-set tiebreaker against Vea at No. 3 and Andres Burgos trailed Guzman, 3-6, 2-5, at No. 4 when the match was stopped.
#16 Cumberland University 5, SCAD-Atlanta 0
1. Na’im Azhar (CU) def. Jack Anton (SCAD), 6-2, 6-0
2. Evan Sanna (CU) vs. Richard Brej (SCAD), 1-6, 6-0, 0-1, DNF
3. Pedro Rodrigues (CU) vs. Mikaiah Vea (SCAD), 7-6 (2), 1-0 DNF
4. Andres Burgos (CU) vs. Julian Guzman (SCAD), 3-6, 2-5, DNF
5. Cristhian Hernandez (CU) vs. David Paull (SCAD), DNS
6. Jeremy Fleming (CU) won by default
1. Rodrigues-Sanna (CU) def. Anton-Brej (SCAD), 9-7
2. Devin Crotzer-Azhar (CU) def. Vea-Guzman (SCAD), 8-3
3. Fleming-Burgos (CU) won by default
Order of Finish – Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,1*)