USC Men's Tennis Wins 17th NCAA Championship
May 19, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The USC men's tennis team captured one last upset win with a 4-1 victory over Ohio State to win the 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship. The Trojans, who finished second in the Pac-10, claimed the 17th team title in program history and the first since 2002. USC finishes out 2009 with a 25-5 overall record, the same mark it hit in 2002. As a whole, it is USC's 110th national championship as a university, including a national best 75 men's NCAA team titles.
For its winning 2009 run, USC had returned to the same site it won that last national championship - College Station, Texas. The No. 8-seeded Trojans made the courts of Texas A&M's George P. Mitchell Tennis Center feel like home by opening with a tight win over fellow Pac-10 power Stanford. USC sent a message to the rest of the tennis world by dealing out a 4-0 sweep of top-seeded and undefeated Virginia in the quarterfinals. Next up was a 4-1 win over Texas in semifinal in front of a Longhorn-heavy crowd to move into the title match for the first time since 2002. Up against No. 3 seed Ohio State, the Trojans dug deep for one final upset to take home the championship trophy.
USC's championship effort began on the doubles courts. While No. 4 Robert Farah / Steve Johnson got an early win with an 8-3 victory over Kronauge/Allare at court one. The Buckeyes brought it back even on an 8-4 win at No. 2 by Uzawa/Koniecko over USC's No. 59 Abdullah Magdas / Daniel Nguyen. On court three, the Trojans and the Buckeyes traded breaks to fall on serve at 6-6. A hold from Jaak Poldma was answered by an Ohio State hold to make it 7-7. Matt Kecki held tight next for the USC edge, and the Trojans brought it home with one final big break to wrap up the doubles point for USC with a 9-7 win over Buchanan/Moneke.
USC increased its lead during singles play with wins at No. 6 and No. 4. Freshman Daniel Nguyen blanked his Buckeye opponent in the first set and finished out a 6-0, 6-2 win over Chase Buchanan. After having his previous two matches suspended with USC wins, Nguyen's win in today's final was his eighth straight victory to finish out his freshman year with a 33-9 overall singles record.
At No. 4, Abdullah Magdas had claimed the quarterfinal clincher days before, and the senior pounded out a 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 113 Matt Allare to put USC a point away from the title. With his third win of the NCAA run, Magdas winds up with a 26-13 overall record in singles play this season.
On court three, USC's No. 81 Jaak Poldma was up against one of Ohio State's three top-25 players. Poldma was edged out in the first set on a tiebreak and fell prey to a couple breaks by OSU's No. 25 Justin Kronouge as the Buckeyes made it 3-1 in the match with a 7-6 (1), 6-4 win at No. 3.
PAc-10 Player of the Year, No. 8 Robert Farah took control in his third set against No. 3 Bryan Koniecko at No. 1. Farah had dropped the first set thanks to a late break from Koniecko, but the Trojan junior roared back to take the second in commanding fashion. On serve for the first half of the third set, Farah made his move by getting up a break at 4-3. At the line for the opportunity to serve out the match, Farah did just that, rifling in an ace to secure the 2009 national championship for USC with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 comeback win on court one. It was Farah's second clinching win of the NCAA tournament and his fifth straight victory in NCAA play to lift the junior to a 31-6 overall singles record.
Farah and Johnson are both lined up for NCAA Singles and Doubles competition, which will run May 20-25. Farah is the No. 8 seed in singles play, and Johnson carries a 33-12 overall record into his first NCAA singles tournament. In doubles, Farah/Johnson are 34-10 overall and are a 5-8 seed in the doubles play, which begins on May 21.
The 2009 NCAA Championship is the first for USC head coach Peter Smith, who had tallied his 400th career victory in the Trojans' quarterfinal upset of No. 1 Virginia. Today's title match was also Smith's first visit to the NCAA final. Now with 17 NCAA team titles all-time, USC is tied with Stanford for the most men's tennis national championships. USC pulls even with the Cardinal in the title count for the first time since 1997 when Stanford won its 15th championship.
The eighth-seeded California women's team (22-5) fell in a 4-0 defeat to No. 3 Duke (29-3) in the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship final Tuesday. The Golden Bears complete their season as the national runner-up for the second consecutive year and will now turn their attention to the NCAA singles and doubles championships beginning Wednesday, May 20 with first round singles matches.
Duke seized the doubles point and made quick work of the Bears, winning on courts three, five and six in straight sets. The Bears will now look ahead to the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Singles and Doubles Championships beginning with the first round of singles matches tomorrow (May 20) at the Mitchell courts. Five Bears were selected to compete in the singles tournament including one of the top seeds in Juricova. Joining Juricova are Cossou, Andersson, Ilcinkas and Bobusic. Juricova and Andersson will also be participating in the doubles tournament as will be Cossou and Ilcinkas.