Doubles Does It For USC In 4-3 Win At Stanford

Feb. 27, 2010

PALO ALTO, CALIF. - The No. 5 USC men's tennis team pushed past No. 8 Stanford in a nail-biter in Palo Alto on Saturday, edging out the host Cardinal 4-3 in a match flip-flopped by inclement weather. The teams opted to play out singles first, with doubles play on hold due to possible rain and to be played only in the event of a tie in singles. The lock-up happened, and skies stayed clear enough to get in doubles, and that's where the Trojans shined through with a pair of tense wins that secured victory for USC. The Trojans improve to 11-1 with the victory, which was USC's second of the year over a top-10 team.

With the match snarled at 3-3 after singles, doubles action got underway with Stanford taking the early advantage. The Cardinal's #2 Klahn/Thacher notched an 8-4 win over USC's Farah/Sundling at the No. 1 position, leaving all-out battles raging on the other two courts. The Cardinal and the Trojans were in stride with one another in the remaining matches, but USC's #30 Lucassen/Poldma broke through first by snagging a clutch break over their Cardinal opponents Kandath/Lin at No. 3 to post a 9-7 win and even things up in doubles play. Meanwhile, at No. 2, USC's Johnson/Nguyen pressed into a tiebreaker with Stanford's #26 Clayton/Wire. There, the Trojan pair rallied ahead and took a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak. Stanford closed back to 5-3, but Johnson/Nguyen fought it out and pinned up a victorious 7-3 tally in the tiebreak to claim the match and the overall victory for USC with the 9-8 (3) decision.

In addition to his key role in the clinching doubles point, Daniel Nguyen was responsible for USC's first point of the match as well, as the sophomore came through with a solid straight-set victory in singles. Nguyen posted a 6-2, 6-1 win over Matt Kandath at the No. 5 position for an early USC advantage. Stanford would rally back, however, winning the next two singles matches to put pressure on the Trojans. Stanford's Greg Hirshman would top Matt Kecki 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 6 slot, while #34 Alex Clayton managed a 6-4, 7-6 win over USC's #1 Steve Johnson at No. 2. Peter Lucassen pulled things into a 2-2 tie when he fought back against Richard Wire to claim a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 three-setter for the Trojans from his No. 4 position. That left Jaak Poldma looking for a successful three-setter of his own at No. 3, but Ryan Thacher interrupted that plan with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 decision that put Stanford ahead 3-2. That put the pending doubles schedule in the hands of the No. 1 singles match raging between USC's #27 Robert Farah and Stanford's #18 Bradley Klahn. The two had traded tiebreak wins in the first two sets to bring up a hard-fought third set. There, Farah got things together and moved ahead of Klahn for a 7-5 win in the third that locked up the match 3-3 with his 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 victory over Klahn.

USC's next competition takes the Trojans across town to UCLA for a second look at the Bruins. USC beat UCLA 4-0 in a meeting at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Virginia in mid-February. This time, UCLA hosts USC at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (March 3) at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

#5 USC 4, #8 Stanford 3
Feb. 27, 2010 - Palo Alto, Calif.
(1) #27 Robert Farah (USC) def. #18 Bradley Klahn (STAN) - 7-6, 6-7 (3), 7-5
(2) #34 Alex Clayton (STAN) def. #1 Steve Johnson (USC) - 6-4, 7-6
(3) Ryan Thacher (STAN) def. #68 Jaak Poldma (USC) - 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
(4) Peter Lucassen (USC) def. Richard Wire (STAN) - 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
(5) #83 Daniel Nguyen (USC) def. Matt Kandath (STAN) - 6-2, 6-4
(6) Greg Hirshman (STAN) def. Matt Kecki (USC) - 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: 5, 6, 2, 4, 3, 1
(1) #2 Klahn/Thacher (STAN) def. Farah/Sundling (USC) - 8-4
(2) Johnson/Nguyen (USC) def. #26 Clayton/Wire (STAN) - 9-8 (3)*
(3) #30 Lucassen/Poldma (USC) def. Kandath/Lin (STAN) - 9-7
USC wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2*

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