No. 5 USC Unravels No. 14 UCLA With 4-1 Win At Marks Stadium|
March 14, 2015
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 5 USC men's tennis team was resoundingly triumphant in its home battle against rival UCLA. Hosting the No. 14 Bruins in the first crosstown showdown of the season, the Trojans held their ground and stayed a step ahead of UCLA for a 4-1 victory today at Marks Stadium. After a stubborn stand in doubles play, USC got a spark in singles play from junior Max de Vroome's shutout on court six. UCLA would pull off a win on court two, but the Trojans remained anchored by the bottom half of the lineup as Nick Crystal snagged a straight-set win on court five before Jonny Wang clinched it all for the Trojans from court four. USC improves to 12-2 overall with today's win over UCLA.
The Trojans emerged victorious in a tight doubles battle, with court three's Trojan tandem of Nick Crystal and Thibault Forget coming up big to clinch the point on a 6-3 win over UCLA's Mkrtchian/Rapp. Crystal/Forget shrugged off deuce games to hold serve and work out ahead of the Bruins, going up 4-2 with Crystal at the service line and then up 5-3 on Forget's hold to move into position for the break and the win. USC's #4 senior pair of Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz had given USC a leg up from court one with a smooth 6-2 win over UCLA's #6 McDonald/Redlicki, pinning up a late break and then getting one last hold form Hanfmann to register the first win of the day. On court two, UCLA's Di Giulio/Sell managed a 6-3 victory over USC's #50 Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson to pull the doubles action even and put the clincher on court three.
With that 1-0 lead in-hand, USC marched on to singles play. Quite clearly, junior Max de Vroome was up to the challenge. His loss in doubles left the #50 junior unfazed as he gave up no ground to UCLA's Ryoto Tachi on court six, delivering a stifling 6-0, 6-0 sweep that promptly tacked a 2-0 lead to the scoreboard for the Trojans. UCLA was able to break through on court two, however. There, a late break in the first set knocked USC's #20 senior Roberto Quiroz off balance, and UCLA's #3 Dennis Mkrtchian worked out ahead in the second set next. Quiroz would fight off three match points, only to have Mkrtchian finally put a stop to things for a 6-4, 6-3 decision that cut the scoreline down to 2-1. It was a different story on court five, however. USC's #51 sophomore Nick Crystal had pulled off a late break of Bruin Gage Brymer in the first set and then held to snag that first lead. In the second, Crystal would dig in further and roll along to a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Brymer to plug a 3-1 advantage on the board for the Trojans. That marked Crystal's 10th consecutive singles win, and it was a big lift for the Trojans today. While Crystal was serving for his match, #8 senior Yannick Hanfmann was serving to push his No. 1 singles match against #5 Mackenzie McDonald into a third set. Their battle would continue to rage on, while USC's #35 Jonny Wang picked up the pace on court four. After trading breaks, Wang and UCLA's Karue Sell got back on serve, with Wang holding to bring up a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Wang forged a path to a 4-1 advantage and the tug-of-war down the stretch saw Wang wrap up the win for himself and the Trojans on a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory.
The clincher suspended action on courts one and three. At the No. 1 spot Hanfmann was on serve in the third set against McDonald, and on court three fellow senior Eric Johnson was in similar position in the early stages of his third set against Martin Redlicki.
USC's next action takes the Trojans to Indian Wells, Calif., for dual-match play against opponents to be determined out at the Oracle Challenge from March. 20-22.
#5 USC 4, #14 UCLA 1