No. 1 USC Tops Tennessee In Sweep|
Feb. 17, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The No. 1 USC men's tennis team has pounded its way through the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships to avenge a first-round loss in last year's tournament. In today's opening matchup with No. 20 Tennessee -- a rematch of the 2010 NCAA Championship that USC won to claim its second straight national title -- the Trojans pushed past the Vols in doubles and then dominated singles play for three quick wins that tacked up a 4-0 victory for USC. The win puts the Trojans at an 8-0 start to their 2012 campaign. The Trojans will get a chance at real revenge tomorrow with a rematch against No. 10 Duke in the quarterfinals. The Blue Devils edged out the Trojans 4-3 in last year's ITA Indoor first round to stop a seven-match win streak by the Trojans. This year, USC and Duke are set to tangle at 3:30 p.m. ET for the right to move into Saturday's semifinals. USC is hoping to make its first ITA Indoor semifinal appearance since 2002.
"We had a tough time getting going early in doubles, being indoors, but we started to return well," USC head coach Peter Smith said. "In singles we did a good job of not letting them get into the match. We have memories against Tennessee, so we knew they were going to be tough. Indoor matches are tough because of the quickness of the courts, but we are adjusting to it. We are getting a chance to work on some things that we don't usually work on."
The last time USC and Tennessee tangled, the Vols had claimed the doubles point for an early leg up in the 2010 NCAA title match. The only Trojans with memories of that match are seniors Steve Johnson and Daniel Nguyen, with Nguyen standing out as the championship clincher for USC with his No. 4 singles win in 2010. This time, Nguyen was again in control, as he and teammate Ray Sarmiento pinned up the first doubles win of the day with an 8-2 decision on court two. Sophomore-freshman combo Emilio Gomez and Roberto Quiroz showed no fear form court three in taking down their Tennessee opponents next with an 8-4 win that left a battle on court one suspended between Johnson and Yannick Hanfmann and their #41 opponents Libietis/Reese.
Nguyen would go on to quickly wrap up Tennessee's Hunter Reese in singled action with a dominant 6-1, 6-0 victory to put the Vols down 2-0. Freshman Yannick Hanfmann mirrored that effort with a 6-1, 6-0 stand of his own against Edward Jones at the No. 5 spot, before freshman Quiroz locked in on a powerful Trojan win with a 6-4, 6-1 clincher from court six. USC's Johnson and Sarmiento both were poised for victories from the top two slots when play was suspended, while Emilio Gomez was looking at a possible third set.
2012 ITA NATIONAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS (Charlottesville, Va.)