USC Men Claim Pac-12 Championship At Ojai

Event: Pac-12 Tennis Championships
Location: Ojai, Calif.
Venues: Ojai Valley Athletic Club / Libbey Park
Dates: April 25-29
More info: Championship Page
Bracket: Men's Bracket | Women's Bracket
Photo Gallery: Saturday's Photos

OJAI, Calif. - The second-seeded Trojans took down top-seed UCLA, 4-2, on Saturday to win the first-ever team championship at the Pac-12 Tennis Championships in conjunction with the 112th Annual Ojai Valley Tournament in Ojai, Calif.

The doubles point did not come easily to USC, as the two completed matches were two of the tightest doubles contests seen at the championships this week. On the top court, USC's Steve Johnson and Roberto Quiroz defeated UCLA's Alex Brigham and Adrien Puget, 8-5; while Trojans Emilio Gomez and Yannick Hanfmann slid by UCLA's Marcos Giron and Warren Hardie, 8-6.

In singles play, USC's Daniel Nguyen struck early as he downed UCLA's Dennis Novikov on court three (6-3, 6-1). USC's Gomez followed suit, defeating UCLA's Giron on court four (6-4, 6-3), to put Troy up, 3-0. UCLA got its first victory of the night as Clay Thompson beat Ray Sarmiento on court two (7-6 (4), 6-4). UCLA's Dennis Mkrtchian followed suit, defeating Roberto Quiroz on court six in three sets (3-6, 6-4, 6-3) to bring the Bruins back in contention for the team title.

All eyes were on the first court as reigning NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson of USC battled through three sets with UCLA's Nick Meister. The first set went to Meister as Johnson showed obvious frustration with his multiple mental mistakes. But in the second set, Johnson turned the aggressor and returned to his dominant form, taking the set from Meister to put split sets on the Upper Libbey scoreboard. In the third set, Johnson maintained control and sealed the win (3-6, 6-1, 6-2) with an ace to clinch the championship for USC and secure an NCAA automatic qualifying bid for the Trojans. Johnson also picked up his 60th consecutive singles victory, extending his NCAA record.

In Pac-12 women's singles action, CALIFORNIA'S Anett Schutting upset STANFORD No. 3-seed Mallory Burdette (1-6, 6-3, 6-2), while Cardinal No. 1-seed Nicole Gibbs defeated teammate Stacey Tan (6-0, 6-0).

In the doubles semifinal, the draw's top team of Stanford's Gibbs and Mallory Burdette overpowered USC's Valeria Pulido and Zoe Scandalis, 8-3, while USC's third-seeded duo of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria downed Cal's second-seeded team of Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting.

The Pac-12 Tennis Championships sees its final day of action on Sunday with the championship draw singles final at 9:30 a.m., pitting unseeded Cal's Schutting against top-seeded Stanford's Gibbs; and the championship draw doubles final at 12:30 p.m., featuring Stanford's Gibbs and Burdette versus USC's Christian and Santamaria. The singles and doubles finals for the invitational draw are at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively. All of Sunday's matches take place at Libbey Park.

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