Steve Johnson Knocks Off Top Seed For Final Spot
Nov. 7, 2009
NEW HAVEN, CONN. -- USC sophomore Steve Johnson served up a semifinal upset of JP Smith on Saturday afternoon, taking down the Tennessee top seed 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to make a move into tomorrow's championship match at the ITA National Indoor Championships hosted by Yale.
In the title match, Johnson goes up against Guillermo Gomez of Georgia Tech. Johnson and Gomez last clashed in the 2009 NCAA Singles Round of 32, where Johnson beat Gomez in a three-setter to move on in postseason play.
It took a fierce three-set comeback push today for Johnson to upend top seeded Smith. Johnson fell behind in the first to take a loss in the opening set, but the sophomore regrouped and had a powerful response in the second set to gain some important momentum for the final stretch on the way to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 semifinal victory. Tomorrow, Johnson and Gomez hit the courts at 1 p.m. ET to play for the rights to the ITA National Indoor singles crown.
While Johnson was doing battle today on the East Coast, a few of his Trojan teammates have been at work in Westwood at the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships. Fellow sophomore Daniel Nguyen is all set up to play in the title match of that tourney tomorrow, as No. 5 seed Nguyen went up against freshman teammate JT Sundling in today's semifinals. Nguyen got the win 6-0, 6-4 to push into the championship match tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT against second seeded Bassam Beidas of Pepperdine.
Nguyen and Sundling would also team up on the same side of the net later in the day today, as the second-seeded Trojan pair played in the doubles semifinals against No. 3 seed Brooklyn/Stewart of UCLA. It went down the wire, but the Bruins managed to pull out a 9-8 (3) win over the Trojans in the semifinals.
Quarterfinals - Nov. 6
[5[ Steve Johnson (USC) def. Marek Michalicka (Wisconsin) - 6-7 (3), 7-5, 4-0 ret.
Semifinals - Nov. 7
 Steve Johnson (USC) def.  JP Smith (Tennessee) - 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
Final - Nov. 8
 Steve Johnson (USC) vs. Guillermo Gomez (Ga. Tech) - 1 p.m. ET
Round of 32 - Nov. 5
Maria Sanchez (USC) def. Laura Vallverdu (Miami) - 6-2, 6-3
Round of 16 - Nov. 6
Anastasia Petukhova (Fresno St.) def. Maria Sanchez (USC) - 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Round of 16 - Nov. 5
Farah/Johnson (USC) def.  Michalicka/Baumann (Wisconsin) - 8-3
Quarterfinals - Nov. 6
Carleton/Cunha (Duke) def. Farah/Johnson (USC) - 8-4