USC's Fink And Johnson Advance In NCAA Singles

May 20, 2009

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - USC saw two singles players force their ways through the first round of the 2009 NCAA Singles Championships in College Station, Texas, with wins today at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. Freshman Steve Johnson was the first Trojan to advance on the day on the men's side, followed by a victory from senior Amanda Fink on the women's side. Johnson will also team up with junior Robert Farah for NCAA Doubles competition in tomorrow's Round of 32.

Playing in her third NCAA Singles Championships, senior Amanda Fink snagged a 6-3, 6-4 win over Georgia Tech's Noelle Hickey in the women's first round to move into a second-round match against Duke's Ella Nze tomorrow (May 21) at 1 p.m. CT. Fink rode a consistent serving effort through her first-round match against Hickey today and finished off her match with one last break to punch her ticket to the next round.

On the men's side, freshman Steve Johnson made a statement in his first NCAA Singles Championship match in taking down Kalle Norburg of Ole Miss 6-3, 7-6 (2) in today's first round. An early break in the first set helped Johnson gain steam for the early advantage in his match. In the second, Norburg made a late push back to even things at 5-5 and then go into a tiebreak, but Johnson kept control and closed things out for the win. Johnson will go up against 9-16 seed Guillermo Gomez of Georgia Tech in the second round tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. CT.

Also competing on the first day of NCAA singles action in College Station were three other Trojans. Playing in her first-ever NCAA Singles Championship was sophomore Maria Sanchez, who went up against Auburn's Alex Haney in a morning match. Haney managed to fight off Sanchez and got a 6-3, 6-4 decision. Sanchez finishes her sophomore season with a powerful 24-11 overall singles record for the Women of Troy.

Also on the women's side, junior Sarah Fansler stepped into her second appearance in the NCAA Singles Championships and faced off against No. 5 seed Mallory Cecil from 2009 NCAA team champ Duke. Fansler also put up a fight against her first-round foe, but took a 6-4, 6-1 loss to close out her junior season with a 21-14 singles mark.

USC junior - who clinched the 2009 NCAA Team Championship for the Trojans the previous day - also came up short of a trip to the second round. Farah fell prey to a late break in the first set and was edged out in a tight tiebreak in the second set to take a 7-5, 7-6 (6) loss to Rice's Bruno Rosa. It was Farah's second trip to the NCAA Singles Championships, leaving the Trojans' top gun in singles with a 31-6 overall record. Farah has more tennis ahead of him this week, however, as he and Johnson are a 5-8 seed in the NCAA Doubles Championships starting tomorrow. Farah/Johnson will face TCU's Brighiu/Simon in an afternoon match.

(8) Robert Farah
First Round (May 20): lost to Bruno Rosa (Rice) - 7-5, 7-6 (6)

Steve Johnson
First Round (May 20): def. Kalle Norburg (Ole Miss) - 6-3, 7-6 (2)
Second Round (May 21): vs. (9-16) Guillermo Gomez (Georgia Tech) - 12:30 p.m. CT

Sarah Fansler
First Round (May 20): lost to (5) Mallory Cecil (Duke) - 6-4, 6-1

Amanda Fink
First Round (May 20): def. Noelle Hickey (Georgia Tech) - 6-4, 6-3
Second Round (May 21): vs. Ella Nze (Duke) - 1 p.m. CT

Maria Sanchez
First Round (May 20): lost to Alex Haney (Auburn) - 6-3, 6-4