No. 4 USC Men Edged Out By No. 3 UCLA
April 19, 2013
WESTWOOD, CALIF. -- The No. 4 USC men's tennis team was passed up by No. 3 UCLA today in Westwood, taking a tight 4-3 loss to the Bruins in the regular-season finale. The UCLA win puts USC in second place in the 2013 Pac-12 standings, so the Trojans will be the No. 2 seed in next week's Pac-12 Tournament in Ojai, Calif., and will go straight to the semifinal round, to be played on Friday (April 26). Today's loss puts USC at 22-3 overall with a 5-1 mark in Pac-12 competition.
The Trojans pulled out a tense doubles point when cousin tandem Gomez/Quiroz fended off Bruins Puget/Sell on court two and clinched the first advantage for USC with their 8-6 win. USC's de Vroome/Quiroz had given USC a leg up with a solid 8-3 win at the No. 3 spot. On court one, the Bruins were able to top USC's Hanfmann/Sarmiento.
The Trojans took that 1-0 lead on into singles play, but the Bruins were ready to rally on their home courts. USC's Emilio Gomez would struggle with injury in his No. 2 singles matchup with Marcos Giron, and would retire from the match during the second set as the Bruins pulled even 1-1. At the No. 5 position, UCLA's Clay Thompson had a strong day against USC's Eric Johnson and made it a 2-1 UCLA lead with a 6-2, 6-3 win there. On court three, the higher seeded Bruin Adrien Puget prevailed over USC Yannick Hanfmann with a 6-1, 6-4 decision that interrupted a 17-match singles win streak held by the sophomore, and all of a sudden UCLA was up 3-1 on its visiting rival.
The match would be decided on court one, where UCLA's Dennis Novikov managed a 6-4, 6-2 win over Ray Sarmiento to seal victory for the Bruins and snap a 10-match win streak held by the Trojans. USC would get back in the win column with the last two matches of the day. Sophomore Jonny Wang delivered a smooth 6-4, 6-4 win over Karue Sell from court six, and Roberto Quiroz fought back to beat Dennis Mkrtchian 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-4) to close out the day as a 4-3 match in UCLA's favor.
The Trojans now head to Ojai for the second edition of the Pac-12 Men's Tennis Tournament, where the automatic NCAA berth goes to the winner of the tourney. USC was the No. 2 seed last season as well, and won it all en route to claiming the Trojans' fourth straight national championship. USC opens up competition in the semifinals on Friday (April 26) for the right to play in Saturday's title match.
#3 UCLA 4, #4 USC 3