USC Headed To NCAA Round Of 16 After Win Over Fresno State

May 15, 2010

No. 5 USC, the defending NCAA champion, continued its march to a second national crown with a 4-1 win over No. 28 Fresno State in an NCAA Championships Men's Tennis second-round match at USC's Marks Stadium on Saturday (May 15).

The Trojans improved to 21-3 while the Bulldogs, in their first NCAA appearance since 2004, finished the season at 19-10. USC is making its fourth straight NCAA trip and its 32nd overall. The Trojans have 17 NCAA titles to their credit,

USC now travels to the Sweet 16 in Athens, Ga., at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex from May 21-25. The Trojans, sporting an eight-match NCAA Tournament win streak, will face the winner of Sunday's No. 12 seed Kentucky-Georgia Tech match on Friday (May 21).

The Trojans swept No. 1 and 2 doubles to earn the doubles point. USC's Daniel Nguyen and JT Sundling made quick work of Fresno State's Taylor Leiby and Mirko Zapletal, 8-2 at No. 2 doubles. At No. 1, USC's Robert Farah and Steve Johnson took a 7-2 lead over the Bulldogs' Remi Boutillier and Rikus de Villiers. Boutillier and de Villiers withstood a pair of set points on Farah's serve and then held their serve to pull to within 7-4, but Johnson served out the set to secure USC's doubles point at 8-4. USC's Peter Lucassen and Jaak Poldma led Siddharth Alapati and Tejesvi Veerepalli, 6-4, when doubles play was stopped.

The first singles point went to Fresno State, as Boutillier took out USC's Matt Kecki at No. 4, 6-4, 6-2.

USC took a 2-1 lead in the match when Johnson, at No. 2 singles, downed de Villiers, 7-5, 6-3. Johnson, a sophomore ranked No. 3 in the country, trailed 2-5 in the first set before rallying for five straight games. He seemed destined for a first set tiebreak when he went down 0-40 at 6-5, but came back to win the game and the first set. He then dominated the second set for the victory.

Nguyen, a sophomore, made it a 3-1 Trojan lead with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Veerepalli. Nguyen led 5-2 in the second set but Verrepalli staved off numerous set points to win the next two games and get to within 5-4. But Nguyen broke at 5-4 to clinch the match.

USC was up a set at No. 1, 5 and 6, but Fresno State was close to extending each match to a third set. The Bulldogs' Alapati did just that at No. 6, winning the second set 6-4 after USC's Jason McNaughton took the first set 6-3.

At No. 5, USC's Lucassen won the first set 6-4 but dropped the first four games in the second set. He fought back to 5-5 in the second but trailed again 5-6 when most fans' attention turned to court 1.

There, Farah was looking to clinch the match for the Trojans. The Trojan senior, ranked No. 9 in the country, won the first set 7-6 over Zapletal, taking the tiebreak at 7-3. Farah trailed 5-6 in the second set but held serve to force another tiebreaker. For the second time in a row, Farah controlled the breaker and sent USC on to the round of 16 with a 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) win

DOUBLES
(1) #2 Robert Farah-Steve Johnson (USC) def. Remi Boutillier-Rikus de Villiers (FSU), 8-4
(2) Daniel Nguyen-JT Sundling (USC) def. Taylor Leiby-Mirko Zapletal (FSU), 8-2
(3) Peter Lucassen-Jaak Poldma (USC) vs. Siddharth Alapati-Tejesvi Veerepalli (FSU), 6-4, susp.

Order of Finish: 2,1

SINGLES
(1) #9 Robert Farah (USC) def. Mirko Zapletal (FSU), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4)
(2) #3 Steve Johnson (USC) def. Rikus de Villiers (FSU), 7-5, 6-3
(3) #83 Daniel Nguyen (USC) def. Tejesvi Veerepalli (FSU), 6-3, 6-4
(4) Remi Boutillier (FSU) def. Matt Kecki (USC), 6-4, 6-2
(5) #121 Peter Lucassen (USC) vs. David Ayoun (FSU), 6-4, 5-6, susp.
(6) Jason McNaughton (USC) vs. Siddharth Alapati (FSU), 6-3, 4-6, susp.

Order of Finish: 4,2,3,1

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