Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor
The No. 1 ranked Trojans advanced to the Final Four of the 2014 NCAA Men's Tennis tournament after defeating No. 9 Texas on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Athens, Georgia.
After losing both doubles matches, USC bounced back in singles winning four matches on the indoor courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Center to beat the Longhorns 4-1 and get one step closer to a fifth national championship in six years.
Max de Vroome sparked the Trojans' comeback with a decisive 6-3, 6-2 win followed by senior Ray Sarmiento who defeated his Longhorn opponent 6-1, 7-6 (3). The other two matches were far more competitive as Yannick Hanfmann gutted out a tough three-set victory over the No. 16 ranked Søren Hess-Olesen (7-5, 3-6, 6-2). Robert Quiroz clinched the victory for the Trojans for the eighth time this season, but it was not easy as he finally defeated Adrien Berkowicz 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 in the most hard-fought battle of the day.
The Trojans advance to the Final Four for the first time since they won their 2012 national championship after losing to Ohio State in the quarterfinals last year. "I think last year we didn't compete our best," said head coach Peter Smith. "We have to go out there and compete our best and that's why I was so proud of them today. We were just competing our butts off and as a coach that's all you can ask."
The Trojans will face No. 4 Virginia for the fifth time in the past six trips to the NCAA tournament in Mondays's semifinal match at 6:00 p.m. ET as USC seek its 100th NCAA team championship.
Here is Yannick Hanfmann after today's quarterfinal match...