Men's Tennis
    No. 8 USC Men Set Up With Semifinal Slot In Fight For Pac-12 Tournament Title

    The Trojans combine forces in Ojai to take a shot at the Pac-12 Tournament title.
    April 21, 2015

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    THIS WEEK
    The No. 8 USC men take their shared title as Pac-12 regular seasons co-champs into the tournament stretch of conference competition. Seeded No. 2 in the 2015 Pac-12 Championship draw, the Trojans (20-4) await their first opponent in the tourney thanks to a ticket straight to the semifinal round. No. 2 seed USC will play at 3 p.m. on Friday (April 24) at Libbey Park in Ojai, Calif., for the right to fight for the Pac-12 Championship at 5 p.m. on Saturday (April 25) at the same spot. This is the fourth year that the Pac-12 Tournament has become a team format for the men, having deviated from the previous individual tournaments held in Ojai. USC won the inaugural Pac-12 Team Championship in 2012 and took second place in 2013 and 2014.

    PAC-12 PRESS RELEASE

    PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL

    OJAI HOST SITE

    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 No. 8 in the nation (as of April 21). Individually, USC remains stacked in the rankings department. Seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz opened the year tabbed at #1 in doubles, and the pair is currently #3 in the latest set of individual rankings, also released April 21. Yannick Hanfmann remains USC's highest ranked singles player, weighing in at #11 in the nation as he continues his senior season. Fellow senior Roberto Quiroz is next in line, ranked at #22 in the nation in singles. Rounding out a full lineup of Trojans in the singles rankings are #38 Jonny Wang, #67 Nick Crystal, #86 Max de Vroome and #100 Eric Johnson.

    PAC-12 PLAN
    For the fourth year, the Pac-12 is hosting a team men's tennis tournament to determine the automatic qualifier for the NCAA Men's Championships. Teams are seeded based on won-lost percentages during regular-season conference play. On Wednesday (April 22), matches between No. 5 seed Oregon and No. 8 seed Arizona opens play at 12 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. matchup between No. 6 seed Washington and No. 7 seed Utah. No. 4 seed California awaits the No. 5/8 winner at 12 p.m. on Thursday (April 23), with No. 3 seed UCLA awaiting the No. 6/7 winner at 3 p.m. Top-seeded Stanford and No. 2 seed USC advance directly to the semifinal round on Friday (April 24). All men's tournament matches will be played at Libbey Park, culminating with the team championship at 5 p.m. on Saturday (April 25). The men's team final will be televised on tape delay on Pac-12 Networks on Sunday (April 26) at 5 p.m. Results, recaps, photos and more will be posted online at Pac-12.com.

    LAST WEEK
    USC traveled across town last week to take on rival UCLA, pinning up its second win of the year over the Bruins with a 4-2 decision at Los Angeles Tennis Center. The win put the finishing touches on the regular season and secured a piece of the Pac-12 title, standing as co-champions with Stanford with a 6-1 finish. The Bruins came out strong in defense of their home court. Bruin duo Mkrtchian/Rapp snagged the first win of the day as they defeated USC's Crystal/Wang 6-1. After being down 5-1 to UCLA's Di Giulio/Sell, USC's pair of de Vroome/Johnson fought back to win two games to make the score 5-3. However, the Bruins took the final game and won 6-3 to claim the doubles point. Even though USC was entering the singles portion of the competition with a 1-0 deficit, the Trojans were not shaken. Rackets ablaze, the Trojans took to the court and immediately made a strong showing. On court two, Eric Johnson took set one 6-3 over UCLA's #32 Dennis Mkrtchian. Johnson took control of the second set by defeating Mkrtchian with a decisive 6-1 score. With the Trojans and the Bruins tied at 1-1, #81 Max de Vroome dominated court five. He took the first set 6-3 over UCLA's Austin Rapp. After grinding his opponent back and fourth across the court, Rapp swung out and de Vroome won the second set 6-1 to give the Trojans their second win of the day. USC was now taking charge of this match. Court five was next to finish with #25 Roberto Quiroz beating #32 Dennis Mkrtchian 6-4, 6-1 with a loud battle cry. Quiroz's win put the Trojans ahead 3-1 in the match. On court one, USC's #12 Yannick Hanfmann was battling it out with UCLA's #3 Mackenzie McDonald. Impressive volleys and powerful shots were made on both sides of the net, but McDonald came out on top finishing with 6-3, 6-3 to give the Trojans their first singles loss of the day. With the action in the main stadium completed, the crowd moved over to watch the remaining contests on courts four and six. After winning the first set 6-3 on court six, USC's #90 Nick Crystal was battling it out with UCLA's Joseph Di Giulio for the match. Di Guilio was clawing for a comeback, but with a perfectly placed shot from Crystal, the Trojan won the second set 6-3, clinching the match for the Trojans.

    BY THE NUMBERS
    USC has moved five players into the 20-win column in singles play so far, led by Nick Crystal and Max de Vroome's team-best 26 singles wins to date, followed closely by Jonny Wang with 25 wins. Wang is currently riding a 12-match singles win streak. Also joining that Trojan trio in the 20-win club are Eric Johnson and Roberto Quiroz with 22 wins apiece. In doubles, USC's #3 pair of All-Americans Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz recently clocked in to join that pack, now holding a 20-5 overall record so far.

    BEATING THE BRUINS
    USC was resoundingly triumphant in its home battle against rival UCLA. 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 Crystal and Thibault Forget coming up big to clinch the point on a 6-3 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 to register the first win of the day. On court two, UCLA 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. De Vroome's 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. On court two, however, a late break in the first set knocked USC's #20 Quiroz off balance, and UCLA's #3 Dennis Mkrtchian worked out ahead for a 6-4, 6-3 decision that cut the scoreline down to 2-1. On court five, though, USC's #51 sophomore Crystal had pulled off a late break of Bruin Gage Brymer in the first set and would dig in further and roll along to a 7-5, 6-2 victory 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. After trading breaks on court four, USC's #35 Wang wrapped up a win for himself and secured victory for the Trojans on his 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Karue Sell.

    ITA INDOORS RECAP
    Out in Chicago at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February, 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.

    UNSTOPPABLE E.J.
    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. After another winning run at the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge, Johnson grabbed another pick as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on March 23. Johnson recently held a 12-match singles win streak and is now 22-8 overall with an 18-2 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. Currently ranked #25 nationally in singles, Quiroz is now 22-6 overall in singles play and is 14-4 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 ranked #90 in the nation in singles and holding a 25-5 overall record in singles play. After starting the dual-match campaign on a 10-match singles win streak, Crystal is currently 15-2 in dual matches.

    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.

    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.