No. 1 USC Men Swamp No. 10 Florida 6-1
The top-ranked USC men's tennis team plowed through another top-10 opponent today in taking down No. 10 Florida with a 6-1 victory at Marks Stadium. The streaking Trojans claimed their 38th straight win with today's victory, and improved to 18-0 in 2012. Senior Steve Johnson also keeps rolling along with his singles streak strongly intact at 51 in a row as he notched his 45th consecutive dual-match singles win on a straight-set victory on court one.
No. 4 USC Men Take Down No. 3 Georgia In Shutout
In the first edition of the Pac-12 SEC Showdown, the No. 4 USC men's tennis team made a statement in serving up a 4-0 takedown of No. 3 Georgia. After pulling off a tight doubles point, the Trojans rattled off three straight-set singles wins to wrap a quick victory over the visiting Bulldogs. USC improves to 3-0 with the win, and the Trojans now turn to face No. 11 Florida tomorrow in the finale of the event at Marks Stadium.
The No. 1 USC men's tennis team heads back to the site of its latest NCAA Championship victory this week, shoving off for Athens, Ga., to play in the second annual installment of the Pac-12/SEC Showdown. The Trojans won the 2014 national championship in Athens last May. Now, USC (3-0) has another set of tough teams to contend in this week's visit. The Trojans will take on No. 17 Florida first, in a 10 a.m. ET match on Saturday (Jan. 31). Then, USC will battle the home team with a 2 p.m. ET tangle against No. 7 Georgia on Sunday (Feb. 1).
ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
The Trojans --- winners of five NCAA Championships in the past six years and the nation's leader with 21 total titles -- opened their 2015 campaign ranked No. 1 in the nation. In the latest set of national rankings (Jan. 28), USC remains locked in as the top team in the land. USC also boasts the top-ranked doubles team in the nation, with seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz tabbed at #1 in the most recent individual rankings, released Jan. 6. Yannick Hanfmann also is USC's highest ranked singles player, weighing in at #3 in the nation as he continues his senior season. Fellow senior Jonny Wang joins Hanfmann in the top-10, ranked at a career-best #8 in the nation in singles. Joining that pair in the singles are #58 Nick Crystal, #68 Roberto Quiroz and #104 Max de Vroome.
ITA KICK-OFF WEEKEND RECAP
The Trojans secured a spot at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a powerful effort at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend last week. As hosts, USC had UNC Wilmington, Santa Clara and Louisiana in town for the weekend's action, and the Trojans opened up against No. 73 Louisiana on Friday. Against the Ragin' Cajuns, USC got right to work in its first action at Marks Stadium in posting a swift 4-0 victory. Highlighting the win was a winning effort by USC's top gun Yannick Hanfmann in both singles and doubles. In his first dual match action of the year, Hanfmann paired up with fellow senior Roberto Quiroz as the nation's No. 1 team and secured the doubles point for the Trojans. In singles, Hanfmann stands as the nation's No. 3 ranked player, and he fit the bill today with the clincher from court one to ink that 4-0 win in the books for USC. The day's action opened with UNC Wilmington and Santa Clara grappling in a tight first match, where the Broncos wound up fighting back to beat the Seahawks 5-2 to advance to the championship and relegate UNCW to the consolation match. Immediately following that bout, the Trojans took to the courts against the Ragin' Cajuns. USC quickly asserted its dominance as Nick Crystal and Connor Farren swiftly posted a 6-2 win over Louisiana's Wynan/Huyton on court three. The No. 2 doubles match was a tighter affair, leaving room for USC's power pairing of Hanfmann and Quiroz to deliver a 6-3 win on center court over Wynan/Wahlborg to pocket the first point of the match for USC. In singles, it was again Nick Crystal -- ranked #58 in singles -- who had a foot on the gas as he sped to the finish line first with a smooth 6-1, 6-1 win over Will Huyton on court six to make it 2-0 Trojans. At the No. 4 spot, USC's #104 Max de Vroome replicated that score in taking out Vlad Kramarov to nudge USC within reach of the win at 3-0, setting up #3 Hanfmann for the clincher. Hanfmann came through with a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Edgar Lopez on court one, and that sealed the win for USC while suspending the remaining matches. The next day, USC punched its ticket to the ITA National Indoor Team Championships with another authoritative win, trouncing No. 57 Santa Clara in the championship match with a 4-0 decision. USC asserted its authority by quickly moving through the doubles portion of the match. Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson collected a 6-1 win over Santa Clara's Mikheil Khmiadashvili and Sam Bertram on court two to start things odd. The No. 1 doubles match finished soon thereafter with top-ranked Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz powering over Santa Clara's Ashot Khacharyan and Ilya Osintsev with a score of 6-2 to clinch the doubles point and bring up singles action. There, it was #58 Nick Crystal who set the tone with an all-out blitz on court six. He shut out SCU opponent Michael Standifer with a 6-0, 6-0 decision that built a 2-0 lead for the Trojans. Coming in just a couple strokes off that scoreline was #8 senior Jonny Wang, who posted a 6-1, 6-1 win on court three over Mikheil Khmiadashvili to further the Trojan cause. USC was leading across the board in the remaining matches, but it would be senior Eric Johnson who registered the clincher. Johnson upended Sebastian Mathieu 6-3, 6-2 to put an end to the day's action as a 4-0 USC victory, suspending play on the remaining courts.
The No. 17 Gators are 3-1 overall after defeating No. 30 Stanford 4-2 in their last match. Florida has #34 Maxx Lipman, #60 Diego Hidalgo ranked 60th, and #81 Elliott Orkin ranked nationally in singles. In doubles, the Gators have #34 Hidalgo/Watson #43 Wardell/Landert, #49 Lipman/Orkin and #50 Perez-Blanco/Belga in the rankings. USC is 5-2 all-time against Florida after picking up a 4-0 win over the Gators at last year's Pac-12/SEC Showdown, which was held at USC.
The No. 7 Bulldogs enter the week at 2-0 overall after defeating No. 60 Utah 4-0 in their last match. Georgia has #11 Austin Smith, #15 Nathan Pasha and #32 Wayne Montgomery ranked nationally in singles. In doubles, the Bulldogs have #16 Wagland/Oosterbaan, #34 Smith/Diaz and #53 Pasha/Montgomery in the rankings. USC is 13-11 all-time against Georgia after picking up a 4-0 win over the Bulldogs at last year's Pac-12/SEC Showdown, which was held at USC.
CRYSTAL SHINES THROUGH Nick Crystal pinned up two powerful singles wins to help drive the Trojans through two sweeps of opponents at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Crystal also was victorious in his doubles match vs. Louisiana alongside Connor Farren to help spark USC in its opening win over the weekend and push him on to a selection as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 26. It's the first career honor for Crystal, and he's the first Trojan to win the award this season. Crystal was the first to win his singles match on both days, taking USC to a 2-0 lead against #73 Louisiana and then also against #57 Santa Clara. Crystal stands as USC's winningest player to date this season, now holding a 14-3 overall record in singles play. He's also now 3-0 in dual matches thanks to his efforts in helping USC win a place at the upcoming ITA National Team Indoor Championships after this week's wins at ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
2015 TROJANS AT A GLANCE
The Trojans enter 2015 looking to add to their growing collection of recent NCAA championships. USC's fifth title in the past six years netted the university its 100th all-time NCAA Championship last year. The 2015 Trojans are certainly up to the task of defending that crown, thanks in part to a set of five Trojans who opened the season in the national singles rankings as well as the top-ranked doubles team in the land. USC seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz began 2015 as the nation's #1 pair, standing as the 2014 ITA National Indoor doubles champs and finalists at the ITA All-American in the fall. Both All-Americans, the seniors also appear on the singles list. Hanfmann reigns supreme as the highest ranking Trojan of them all, standing out at #3 in the nation. He reached the singles final at the ITA All-American and reached the quarterfinals at the ITA National Indoors. Next in line is another USC senior. Jonny Wang enjoys easily his highest post of his Trojan career, ranking #8 in the nation after a powerful fall campaign. Wang was a finalist at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships and reached the Round of 16 at the ITA All-American and ITA National Indoors. Sophomore Nick Crystal, meanwhile, stands at #58 in the nation. He reached the final of the USTA Clay Court Invitational and swept the titles at the Battle in the Bay in the fall. Senior Roberto Quiroz was limited in his action during the fall, and picks up a #68 ranking to start the spring, having reached the Round of 32 at the ITA All-American. Rounding out the USC rankings list is junior Max de Vroome -- clincher of the 2014 NCAA Championship victory. The junior reached the ITA Southwest Regional semifinals during the fall.