No. 1 USC Men Grab 5-2 Win Over No. 17 Gators|
Jan. 31, 2015
ATHENS, GA. -- The No. 1 USC men's tennis team returned to the site of its 2014 NCAA Championship run and got right back to its winning stride in Athens, Ga. Playing at the second installment of the Pac-12/SEC Showdown, the Trojans opened the 2015 event against No. 17 Florida today. The Gators reeled in the Trojans, but USC's Nick Crystal would have the last word as he pulled off the clincher in a final 5-2 USC victory. The defending NCAA champs improve to 4-0 overall with the win and now set up to face host Georgia tomorrow (Feb. 1) at 2 p.m. ET.
The morning matchup saw the Trojans wake up and snag the opening win on a 6-4 upset victory by USC's Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson over Florida's #49 Lipman/Orkin on court two. At the No. 1 spot, USC's top-ranked doubles duo of Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz saw themselves tangled up and heading into a tiebreaker against Florida's #32 Hidalgo/Watson. The Trojans would prevail in pulling of the tiebreak win for a 7-6 (5) decision that pocketed the first point of the match for the Trojans and suspended play on court three.
Singles action was another tough test. A string of three-set battles ensued there, although USC's #68 Roberto Quiroz was able to hit the finish line first with a straight-set win on court two over #81 Elliott Orkin on a 6-2, 7-5 decision. That pumped USC ahead 2-0 in the match. On court one, USC's #3 Yannick Hanfmann had slipped up in his first set against Florida's #34 Maxx Lipman, but the Trojan found a groove in the next set and stayed on pace for an eventual 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 comeback that pulled USC to a 3-0 advantage. The Gators would rally back and make it 3-2 next, though. Buoyed by tiebreak wins in the second set on both courts three and four, the Gators rang up a pair of three-set comebacks of their own. At the No. 3 position, Florida's #50 Diego Hidalgo bounced back to beat USC's #8 Jonny Wang 0-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 and make it 3-1. Then, Florida's Gordon Watson made a similar statement, and went on to cap his win over USC's Eric Johnson with another tiebreak win for a 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) comeback that pulled the Gators within one at 3-2.
While all those three-set battles were broiling, the No. 5 singles match was able to get started once court one cleared. With only four indoor courts available, the No. 5 and No. 6 matches were delayed in their starts. But once USC's #58 Nick Crystal got to his court, the sophomore was ready to make his mark. Crystal ripped through to a 6-2, 7-5 win over Oliver Landert to secure victory for the Trojans, now up 4-2 in the match. Rob Bellamy's No. 6 singles match would move outdoors to be completed, while the second dual match of the day between UCLA and Georgia got started up indoors. Out in the fresh air, Bellamy would pick up a 7-6 (5), 2-6, 1-0 (10-6) victory over Jordan Beluga to wrap the match score as a 5-2 USC win.
USC will face host Georgia tomorrow (Feb. 1) at 2 p.m. ET in Athens.