March 16, 2012
USC Men's Tennis Release
The USC men roll a 37-match win streak home to Marks Stadium on Monday (March 19). The undefeated and top-ranked Trojans (17-0) will face their sixth top-10 opponent of the year when No. 10 Florida comes to town for a 3 p.m. match at USC.
ITA RANKING UPDATES
The USC men remain ranked where they left off in 2011 -- at the top of the national rankings for the seventh straight cycle (latest released March 13) in a 2012 season that the Trojans hope to finish out on top of for the fourth straight year. In the latest individual rankings (released March 13), defending NCAA Singles Champion Steve Johnson weighs in at No. 2 to lead a full lineup of ranked Trojans. Fellow senior Daniel Nguyen is next at No. 16, followed by ITA Southwest Regional Singles Champion Ray Sarmiento at No. 24, along with No. 30 Yannick Hanfmann, No. 41 Emilio Gomez and No. 121 Roberto Quiroz. In doubles, USC has Hanfmann/S. Johnson ranked No. 6 in the nation, and Nguyen/Sarmiento at No. 21.
USC is back in town after a winning trip through Texas, where the Trojans beat the No. 13 Longhorns 6-1 in Austin before returning to the site of their 2009 NCAA Championship and topping No. 20 Texas A&M 5-2 in College Station. In doing so, USC kept its growing win streak alive, stretching to its 37th straight victory with the win over the Aggies. Even more impressive, however, was senior Steve Johnson's dominance in two more wins to bulk his overall singles win streak to 50 in a row. Johnson beat Texas' #62 Soren Hess/Olesen 6-0, 6-1 first, and then turned around and topped Texas A&M's #27 Alexis Klegou 6-2, 6-1. He paired that singles strength with doubles power as well, combining forces with Roberto Quiroz for two more wins at the No. 1 position. Against Texas, Johnson's singles win at the top spot sparked USC's four straight-set singles wins in a row en route to the 6-1 victory. Against Texas A&M's Johnson again set the winning tone with the opening singles victory in that one as well. Johnson was one of three Trojans to tack up two singles wins on the trip, with fellow senior Daniel Nguyen battling to two tough victories, and freshman Roberto Quiroz holding strong at the No. 6 spot for two more straight-set wins.
The No. 10 Gators are 9-5 overall after beating Vanderbilt 6-1 on March 9 and taking a 4-3 loss to No. 7 Kentucky on March 11. Florida has five players ranked nationally in singles: #56 Nassim Slilam, #57 Tripper Carleton, #61 Bob van Overbeek, #93 Spencer Newman and #114 Michael Alford. In doubles, the Gators have #8 Slilam/Federhofer, #26 Carleton/Newman and #74 van Overbeek/Butz. USC is 3-2 all-time against Florida after capturing a 4-3 win over the Gators last year in Gainesville.
Senior Steve Johnson finished his junior season with a 35-match singles winning streak in claiming the 2011 NCAA Singles Championship. On March 15, Johnson reached his 50th singles win in a row -- playing at the same site (College Station, Texas) that he helped USC win the 2009 NCAA Championship as a freshman. The streak dates back to Jan. 17, 2011, when Johnson fell to Stanford's Bradley Klahn in the Sherwood Collegiate Cup final. And his overall singles win streak is just a part of a similarly impressive dual-match tally. As of March 15, Johnson has won 44 straight in dual-match singles matches, with the last loss dating back to #9 Henrique Cunha of Duke on March 17, 2010. Johnson took a fall break from collegiate tennis to play as an amateur on the pro circuit, where he won a USTA Pro Circuit Futures singles title in Claremont, Calif., and an ATP Challenger doubles title in Knoxville, Tenn. Now back on the collegiate courts, the senior five-time All-American is looking to ultimately lead the Trojans to a fourth straight national championship while he also most certainly amasses a dominating winning record of his own.
Peter Smith: 200 IN A DECADE
Currently in his 10th year as head coach at USC, Peter Smith has a big benchmark quickly approaching his grasp. Already the owner of three straight NCAA Team Championships, he's seen his players win both the 2008 NCAA Doubles Championship and the 2011 NCAA Singles Championship to date. Smith now has his Trojans chugging along on a 37-match win streak that has him four wins away from his 200th career victory at Troy. If USC's winning momentum keeps the Trojans undefeated in the next stretch, that milestone could come on March 31 at Oregon. Smith entered the 2012 season with a 179-61 overall record as head coach at USC.
ROBERTO ROLLS IN DOUBLEHEADER
Roberto Quiroz registered two doubles and two singles wins for the USC men in their doubleheader on Feb. 24, helping USC to sweeps against #60 San Diego State and #24 San Diego and getting himself on the list as the Pac-12 Player of the Week. The only Trojan to do double duty in both matches, Quiroz still dominated throughout. After a near-perfect doubles win with Emilio Gomez vs. SDSU, Quiroz came through with the match-clinching singles win in a powerful 6-1, 6-3 win over Rickey Baylon at the No. 3 singles position. A few hours later, Quiroz followed up another doubles win alongside Gomez with the first singles win of the match vs. San Diego, taking down Ciaran Fitzgerald in another strong showing, 6-3, 6-1. Gomez is now 26-5 overall in singles and 12-2 in dual-match play. In doubles, he and his cousin Gomez have gone 12-3 overall and 10-2 in dual matches.
USC exacted some sweet revenge at the 2012 ITA National Team Indoor Championships by charging to the title in Charlottesville, Va. The Trojans took their only two losses of 2011 at the tourney last season, but made sure not to stumble at all in this year's campaign. USC won the doubles point in the first three matches, but fell in the title match vs. Ohio State before working back on top and eventually getting the championship clincher from freshman Yannick Hanfmann with his three-set comeback from court five. Hanfmann finished the tourney with a perfect run through singles play, picking up four wins to help boost the Trojans to the title run. USC opened up the action with a shutout of No. 20 Tennessee -- a rematch of the 2011 NCAA Championship match -- with the clincher coming from Roberto Quiroz on court six. In the quarterfinals against No. 10 Duke -- who had beaten the Trojans 4-3 last year at the ITA Indoors -- USC swept once again as Daniel Nguyen provided the cinching heroics from his No. 3 spot. In the semifinals, USC was up against No. 4 Georgia, and powered past the Bulldogs for a 4-1 win that Steve Johnson secured from the top singles slot. That set up the Trojans with their first championship appearance since 1991, and USC pushed through to edge out No. 3 Ohio State -- which had upset No. 2 host Virginia in the other semi -- with a 4-3 win. The victory tallied the Trojans' third title at the national indoor event, with the last coming in 1988.
USC returned to the site of its latest NCAA Team Championship in revisiting Taube Stadium at Stanford on Feb. 3 for some nonconference action against the No. 6 Cardinal. The return trip proved fruitful once again for the Trojans, who recorded their first-ever 7-0 sweep of Stanford in claiming five straight-set wins and a pair of victories on 10-game tiebreakers to help USC to victory. The match of the weekend was arguably on court one in the USC-Stanford clash, where USC's Steve Johnson was embroiled in an on-serve battle with #37 Ryan Thacher. Johnson pulled out the first set on a tiebreaker, and Thacher answered with a win in the second-set tiebreak. Once the 10-game decider came into play, however, Johnson was all business. The senior rallied past Thacher and posted a 10-3 win in the final frame to lock in on his 42nd straight collegiate singles win.
Yannick Hanfmann helped supercharge the Trojans to their first ITA National Team Indoor Championship since 1988 with three dominating straight-set singles wins two doubles upset victories, and the clinching three-set singles comeback in the title match to beat Ohio State and win the crown. For his powerful work across the country at the tourney, Hanfmann was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 20. Hanfmann teamed up with Steve Johnson at the No. 1 doubles position and followed up a suspended match in the Round of 16 clash with No. 20 Tennessee by taking down two higher ranked opponents to key doubles-point wins for USC against No. 10 Duke in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Georgia in the semis. #28-ranked Hanfmann/Johnson beat Duke's #13-ranked pair and Georgia's #7-ranked duo. In singles, Hanfmann plowed through his opponents with a trio of straight-set wins, losing only nine total games in those three victories. Against No. 4 Ohio State in the championship, Hanfmann and Johnson lost in doubles, and Hanfman was down a set in singles before pummeling Devin McCarthy in the next two sets to win his match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 and lift USC to a 4-3 win over the Buckeyes. Currently riding an eight-match singles win streak, Hanfmann now holds a 27-6 overall singles record and 14-2 dual-match mark. He and Johnson have gone 10-2 overall in doubles and 7-1 in dual-match play.
PICK OF THE PAC
Ray Sarmiento picked up his third career selection as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 30 thanks to his powerful performances in singles and doubles over the weekend as the top-ranked Trojans grabbed two wins at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Sarmiento extended his doubles win streak with teammate Daniel Nguyen out to eight straight by getting the first wins of the day in both matches at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to go along with two dominant singles wins over the weekend for the Trojans. Sarmiento and Nguyen pinned up 8-3 and 8-2 wins from their No. 2 doubles spot for early lifts for the Trojans. In singles, #12 Sarmiento cracked down with a 6-1, 6-0 win over UNLV's Tamas Batyi from the No. 2 position, then turned around and snagged a 6-1, 6-3 win over Pedro Mol on court three against UNC-Wilmington. Sarmiento now boasts a 25-8 overall singles record on the year to go with a 16-4 mark with Nguyen in doubles.
Trojans were the only ones left playing on the final day of the Sherwood Collegiate Cup on Jan. 16, with a USC sweep to the singles and doubles title matches. The Trojans come home with a solid set of hardware for their trophy cases, as Steve Johnson won the singles championship in beating teammate Daniel Nguyen, while Nguyen teamed up with Ray Sarmiento on the doubles courts to beat Johnson and Yannick Hanfmann 9-7 to claim the doubles championship. Almost a third of the singles draw was comprised of Trojans for the early-spring tournament, which culminated in today's all-Trojan title matches. Senior Steve Johnson stepped back to the collegiate courts for the first time since winning the 2011 NCAA Singles Championship after a stint as an amateur on the pro circuit. He now holds a clean 5-0 singles record on the year thanks to today's 6-2, 6-2 championship win over his fellow senior teammate and three-time NCAA Team Champion Daniel Nguyen. The two seniors spent a lot of time on opposite sides of the net today, in fact. In the doubles final, Nguyen was paired with his trusty sophomore teammate Ray Sarmiento -- whom he had paired with to much success during USC's run to the 2011 national championship -- for the Sherwood title match against Johnson and USC freshman Yannick Hanfmann. Johnson/Hanfmann were the No. 2 seeded team in the doubles draw, but Nguyen/Sarmiento won the day with a late push for a 9-7 victory that captured the doubles crown.
NGUYEN CLUTCH IN FRANCE
USC senior Daniel Nguyen has locked in on the clinching match for the past two NCAA Team Championships for the three-time defending champ Trojans, and in a December trip to France he tapped into those clutch skills in helping Team USA beat host France 4-3 in the championship of the Master'U BNP Paribas. The U.S. team of the top American collegians went up against France in the final for the third straight year and fell behind 3-1 in singles play. In doubles, however, Nguyen had two matches on his plate, first teaming up with Virginia's Jarmere Jenkins -- an opponent of the Trojans' in the past two NCAA Tournaments -- for a straight-set win that boosted up the USA's chances. Nguyen then turned around and stepped up for a mixed doubles match alongside fellow Pac-12 player Jacqueline Cako of ASU. The Trojan-Sun Devil duo would overpower their French opponents to the tune of a match-clinching 6-4, 6-1 victory that sewed up a 4-3 win for Team USA to claim its second Master'U BNP Paribas championship in the past three years. Nguyen currently holds a 23-7 overall record in singles with a 12-2 mark in dual matches.
RAY ROLLS AT REGIONALS
In October, Ray Sarmiento topped off his tear through the ITA Southwest Regional Championships with yet another straight-set victory to claim the singles title for the Trojan sophomore in Malibu. Up against an upset-minded Francis Alcantara of Fresno State, Sarmiento served up a solid 6-4, 6-3 win to become the first Trojan to win a regional singles title in over a decade. The No. 2 seed in the tourney, Sarmiento never gave up more than four games in a set to anyone but No. 3 seeded Finn Tearney of host Pepperdine during the semifinals. In he title match with Alcantara, Sarmiento was similarly dominant as he picked up his sixth consecutive straight-set win of the year to bring a long-awaited regional championship to Troy. No Trojan had won a singles title at the ITA regionals since Andrew Park went back-to-back in the 1999 and 2000 regional tournaments.
USC's sophomore-freshman doubles combo of Emilio Gomez and Yannick Hanfmann extended their dominating run through the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships into a championship victory at the tourney in November in Westwood. Up against a Bruin team playing on their home courts, the two young and top-seeded Trojans served up an 8-4 win over UCLA's No. 2 seeded Brigham/Thompson to win the doubles title. The pair recently played in their first dual match together, picking up a March 9 win to stay perfect at 8-0 overall together this season.
USC finished 2011 on a 19-match winning streak that carried the Trojans to their third straight NCAA championship for a final 27-2 overall record. Junior Steve Johnson would win the NCAA singles championship as well, becoming the first USC player --- since the dual-match format was incorporated into the NCAA championships in 1977 -- to win a team and singles title in the same year. Johnson was named the 2011 ITA National Player of the Year, and earned All-American honors along with freshman Ray Sarmiento. Peter Smith was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in leading the Trojans to their first undefeated conference finish since 1987. Johnson also was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, joined by teammates Jaak Poldma (first team), Sarmiento, (second team), Nguyen and Emilio Gomez (honorable mention) on the all-conference honor roll.