UCLA, USC Men's Tennis Advance To NCAA Quarterfinals
May 14, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament resumed play Thursday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M University. UCLA and USC have advanced to the Quarterfinals after capturing wins in the Round of 16.
The seventh-seeded Bruins (20-4) outplayed Miami (Fla.), winning 4-1, and advance to the quarterfinals for the 33rd consecutive season. Next up for UCLA is a meeting with second-seeded Mississippi (27-2) on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. CT. The Rebels defeated host Texas A&M, 4-1 on Thursday evening. UCLA is 3-1 all-time against Mississippi.
UCLA captured the doubles point in its ninth straight match, taking a 1-0 lead. After Haythem Abid and Holden Seguso notched an 8-3 win at court No. 3, the Bruins clinched it when Amit Inbar and Harel Srugo downed Miami's Christian Blocker/David Simon, 8-4 at the No. 2 slot. With Thursday's win, Inbar and Srugo improve to 14-0 on the season.
The Bruins dominated in singles, securing a 2-0 lead when Abid lost just two games en route to a 6-2, 6-0 win over David Rosenfeld in the No. 2 position. It was his first NCAA Tournament win in two years, as he missed all of last year with a wrist injury.
Next to finish was court No. 5, where Miami's Christian Blocker downed senior Michael Look, 6-2, 6-4 to cut the lead to 2-1. The Bruins would answer right back, however, pushing the score to 3-1 when Srugo dispatched of Carl Sundberg, 6-2, 6-3 at court No. 3.
Although Srugo's victory brought the Bruins within a point of clinching, all three remaining matches were close. Nick Meister was going to a third set at court No. 6, and Seguso was on the verge of going to a third set at court No. 4. The only player with a slight lead was Matt Brooklyn at court No. 1, as he was leading 13th-ranked Daniel Vallverdu, 6-3, 5-2. Seguso, who fought off a set point in the second set tiebreaker, clinched the Bruin victory with a 6-1, 7-6(7) defeat of Miami sophomore Keith Crowley.
The Bruins extend their winning streak to 13 and improve to 11-0 all-time against Miami. At 20-4 overall, UCLA has now posted its 11th straight 20-win season and the Bruins have reached at least the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament every year since the team format was adopted in 1977.
On the other side of the bracket, the No. 8 seeded USC gutted out a tight match against fellow Pac-10 power Stanford, 4-2, as the Trojans move onto their third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals. USC will face top-seeded Virginia in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT.
Today's win for the Trojans pushes them to a 22-5 overall record in USC's third straight 20-win season. On Saturday, USC faces the same team it saw in the 2007 NCAA Quarterfinals, coming up against undefeated No. 1 Virginia. The Cavaliers got a 4-1 win over USC in the 2007 tournament.
USC snagged a crucial advantage by claiming the doubles point. On court No. 2, Abdullah Magdas and Daniel Nguyen defeated the Stanford team of Richard Wire and Blake Muller, 8-6. The Cardinal came back, snagging the win on court No. 3 as Matt Bruch and Ted Kelly topped Matt Kecki and Jaak Poldma, 8-5. The point came down to court No. 1, where USC's tandem of Robert Farah and Steve Johnson edged Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher, 9-8 (4), in a nailbiter.
It took a comeback surge from Farah to clinch a competitive match for the Trojans, as all but one singles match went into three sets. The junior lost the first set 3-6, but came back to defeat Stanford's Alex Clayton, 6-3, 6-4 for the USC victory.
The men's quarterfinals will be played Saturday, May 16 in College Station, Texas.