March 17, 2015
USC Men's Tennis Release
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The No. 4 USC men set up camp in Indian Wells, Calif., for the second edition of the BNP Paribas Collegiate Tennis Challenge, running March 20-22. USC is one of eight teams from around the nation lined up for the event, presented by Oracle. The Trojans (12-2) will open up with a first-round match against Tulsa, looking for some revenge after Tulsa managed an upset win over USC just weeks ago. On Friday (March 20), USC will get that rematch with No. 20 Tulsa at 1:30 p.m. in Indian Wells. A win there would put USC up against either BYU or No. 3 Baylor in the semifinals at 2 p.m. on Saturday (March 21). The tournament champion will be crowned after a 10 a.m. title match on Sunday (March 22). Losing teams will move into the consolation bracket of the event. On the other half of the draw are No. 1 Oklahoma, Purdue, No. 29 Columbia and No. 28 California.
THE LAST MEETING
February 28, 2015
No. 1 USC Upset by No. 51 Tulsa 4-3
The No. 1 USC men's tennis team was shocked by No. 51 Tulsa as they were upset 4-3 in Marks Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 28. This is the second loss for the Trojans this season, with the first being against Oklahoma in the championship match of the ITA National Indoor Championships two weeks ago. This loss puts the Trojans at 10-2 overall.
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. USC was at No. 2 for one cycle after taking second at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, but bounced back to No. 1 on Feb. 24. The Trojans' upset loss to No. 51 Tulsa, dropped USC out of the top spot. USC is now ranked No.4 in the latest set of national rankings (March 17). The No. 6 rank is USC's lowest since standing at No. 7 in the March 8, 2011 team rankings. Individually, USC remains stacked in the rankings department. Seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz opened the year tabbed at #1 in doubles, and have since move to #4 in the latest set of individual rankings, released March 10. Yannick Hanfmann remains USC's highest ranked singles player, weighing in at #8 in the nation as he continues his senior season. Fellow senior Roberto Quiroz is next in line, ranked at #20 in the nation in singles. Joining that pair in the singles rankings are #35 Jonny Wang, #50 Max de Vroome and #51 Nick Crystal. Also in doubles, USC has #50 Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson teaming up for a spot in the rankings.
The No. 4 Trojans are joined by seven other teams out at Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Collegiate Tennis Challenge presented by Oracle. USC's half of the draw includes No. 3 Baylor, BYU and No. 20 Tulsa. On the other half, No. 1 Oklahoma is joined by No. 29 Columbia, No. 28 California and Purdue. When it comes to rankings, Baylor has #4 Julian Lenz, #29 Tony Lupieri and #36 Maxime Tchoutakian ranked in singles along with three ranked doubles pairs: #28 Lupieri/Rios, #40 Lupieri/Zsiga and #77 Lenz/Galeano. Oklahoma has #7 Axel Alvarez Llamas, #19 Andrew Harris, #26 Dane Webb and #53 Alexandru Ghilea in singles and two ranked doubles pairs: #5 Alvarez/Webb and #69 Ghilea/Harris. Columbia has #16 Winston Lin and #83 Dragos Ignat ranked in singles and three ranked doubles pairs: #20 Narayana/Schnur, #42 Vermeer/Pham and #57 Lin/Vermeer. California has #67 Andre Goransson and #87 Filip Bergevi in singles and two ranked doubles teams: #36 Bayane/Melton and #65 Goransson/Wikberg. Tulsa has #37 Or Ram-Harel and #100 Alejandro Espejo in singles and #53 Espejo/Bautista in doubles. BYU and Purdue have no ranked individuals.
USC was resoundingly triumphant in its home battle against rival UCLA last week. Hosting the No. 14 Bruins in the first crosstown showdown of the season, the No. 5 Trojans held their ground and stayed a step ahead of UCLA for a 4-1 victory 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, later earning himself his first career selection as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on March 16. 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. 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 from 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, 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 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 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 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 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 Johnson was in similar position in the early stages of his third set against Martin Redlicki.
ITA INDOORS RECAP
Last month in Chicago at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, the top-seeded Trojans worked their way to the title match for the fourth straight season. Opening up against No. 22 Penn State in their Round of 16 match, the Trojans swept through to a 4-0 win to advance. That pushed USC into a quarterfinal clash against Ohio State, which had beaten the Trojans in last year's championship match. USC found revenge in this year's matchup. The clincher came from top gun Yannick Hanfmann for the second straight match, with the senior's win on court one wrapping up a 4-1 victory for the Trojans to advance. In the semis, USC tangled with No. 4 Georgia for the second time in two weeks, having silenced the Bulldogs in Athens to start the month. This time, Georgia was able to grab the doubles point, but the Trojans charged back with four singles wins, capped by the clincher from senior Roberto Quiroz for the 4-1 comeback. That earned the Trojans yet another championship rematch, pitting USC against Oklahoma for the first time since the Trojans beat the Sooners in last year's NCAA Championship. This time, the Sooners took a 2-0 lead on the Trojans before senior Eric Johnson continued his winning ways with yet another singles victory to cut the margin down to 2-1. Oklahoma got ahead 3-1 next before Nick Crystal pulled off a three-set comeback win on court six to keep USC within reach, only to see the Sooners get the clincher with a three-setter on court five to ring up a 4-2 victory over the Trojans. After the close of the event, USC landed several Trojans on the ITA National Indoor All-Tournament Team for their powerful efforts in Chicago. In singles, Yannick Hanfmann was named to the No. 1 spot, Eric Johnson picked up the No. 4 singles spot, and Nick Crystal earned his place at No. 6. In doubles, Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson were tabbed on the All-Tourney Team at No. 2 doubles.
USC senior Eric Johnson was instrumental in driving the USC men to a fourth straight trip to the final of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. He pinned up straight-set singles wins in the Round of 16, quarterfinal and semifinal to move USC into the title match. In doubles, he also was victorious alongside teammate Max de Vroome in the first two matches, while having his match suspended in the semifinal. He beat a ranked opponent in the quarterfinal round, topping #68 Ralf Steinbach of Ohio State to help USC win that match - a rematch of the 2014 ITA Indoors title match. In the final, Johnson was the only Trojan to win out in doubles and singles as USC fell 4-2 to No. 2 Oklahoma. The singles win marked Johnson's sixth straight victory and gave him an 8-1 mark in dual-match singles play. For his efforts, Johnson not only was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 23 for the first time in his career, he earned multiple honors on the ITA National Team Indoor All-Tournament Team. He secured spots on team for his work at No. 4 singles and at No. 2 doubles with de Vroome. Johnson currently rides an eight-match singles win streak to hold a 14-7 overall record with a 10-1 mark in dual matches.
ROBERTO RULES IN ATHENS
USC senior Roberto Quiroz secured his fifth career selection as the Pac-12 Player of the Week with a powerful performance in Athens, Ga., at the Pac-12/SEC Showdown. Quiroz was victorious across the board in USC's winning weekend. The senior whipped up doubles wins in both matches to help USC pocket the first point in both eventual Trojan wins. The momentum he gathered up in doubles would propel Quiroz to two quick straight-set victories in singles. Against Florida's #81 Elliott Orkin, Quiroz' 6-2, 7-5 win lifted USC to a 2-0 lead over the Gators, en route to a final 5-2 victory. The next day, Quiroz whipped up the first singles win for the Trojans once again. This one was a big one, as the #68 Quiroz upset Georgia's #15 Nathan Pasha with a 7-5, 6-2 win to again put USC ahead 2-0 on the way to a final 4-0 shutout of the Bulldogs from his court two spot. The USC men improved to 5-0 overall with that winning road trip. Quiroz is now 15-5 overall in singles play and is 7-3 in dual matches.
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 21-3 overall record in singles play. He's also now 10-0 in dual matches thanks to a 10-match singles win streak.
BREAKING GROUND ON NEW DIGS
The USC men's and women's tennis teams have called the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium home since its construction in 1971. This year, Trojan tennis will see its home revamped and renovated, bringing the venue up to date and in line with the impressive accomplishments of both programs. A ceremony to kickstart the renovation of Marks Stadium, which includes breaking ground on the Buntmann Family Tennis Center, was held on Tuesday (Feb. 24). Goals for this renovation are to elevate Marks Tennis Stadium to be on par with the best facilities in the country by creating an inviting, elegant, bright and safe training and competition environment. The Buntmann Family Tennis Center entrance and lobby will welcome fans and visitors and put on display the rich history of USC tennis. To improve the building functionality and support the tennis program operations, the new Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Studio will support direct collaboration between coaches, staff and athletes on a daily basis. The teams will be able to utilize and enjoy brand-new suites with lockers, showers, team meeting rooms and lounges. Both teams will have access to a new training room, a stringing storage area and a large multi-purpose room. To better accommodate and enhance the spectator experience, new spectator shade canopies will be added, a new elevator to the seating area will be installed. In addition to the lead gift from the Buntmann family, the renovation has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman family, the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, John Shea and Michael Uytengsu. The renovation is expected to be complete for Spring 2016.
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.