No. 3 USC Men Are Upset By Duke

March 17, 2010

DURHAM, N.C. - The No. 3 USC men's tennis team tripped up in doubles for just the second time this season and wound up with their second loss of the year on Wednesday, falling 4-3 to host No. 50 Duke. After trailing 3-1 in the match, USC closed back in to tie on wins from Daniel Nguyen and Jason McNaughton, but the Blue Devils got the upset with #9 Henrique Cunha's win over USC's #1 Steve Johnson. USC moves to 13-2 overall with the loss, while Duke goes to 6-5.

The Trojans had an uncommon start to the match, dropping the doubles point to fall into a 0-1 hole on the way into singles action. The last time USC had lost a doubles point was also the last time the Trojans had lost a match, as USC fell 4-2 to then-No. 8 Texas on Feb. 13 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Today in Durham, Duke's #44 pair Michel/Witoska handed a rare loss to USC's #48 Lucassen/Poldma at the No. 3 position before USC evened it with at win at No. 2. Johnson/Nguyen topped Blue Devils Arnould/Holland 8-6. At the No. 1 slot, Duke's #3 team of Carleton/Cunha edged USC's Farah/Sundling 8-6 to tack up the first point of the match in Duke's column.

As singles got going, #72 Jaak Poldma and Jason McNaughton pulled off first-set wins on courts two and six, respectively, while the Trojans trailed at No. 1, 4 and 5. #89 Daniel Nguyen was engaged in a tight first set with #79 Dylan Arnould in the No. 3 match, and pulled out of a 5-5 tie to join Poldma and McNaughton with first-set advantages in the match.

Duke would jump ahead 2-0 in the match with Torsten Wietoska's 6-1, 6-2 win over #84 Peter Lucassen on court four, turning up the pressure on USC's remaining singles matches. Jaak Poldma answered the call and tacked up the Trojans' first point of the match with his 6-3, 6-1 win at the No. 2 slot over #118 Reid Carleton to make it 2-1 with USC working on getting ahead ahead on the other courts. The Blue Devils would tally the next point, however, as David Holland topped USC freshman #119 JT Sundling at No. 5 6-2, 6-3, bring host Duke to within a point of victory, up 3-1.

Moments later, though, #89 Daniel Nguyen drilled out a score for the Trojans with a 7-5, 6-1 win over #79 Dylan Arnould to pull it to 3-2 Duke with Steve Johnson looking for a comeback on court one and Jason McNaughton up on court six. McNaughton closed his out and pulled the Trojans even 3-3 with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Alain Michel at the No. 6 slot, leaving Johnson fighting off #9 Henrique Cunha on court one. Johnson fell in the first set 4-6 and was down 4-5 in the second before pulling even at 5-5 for new life in the deciding match. Cunha took the next lead, but Johnson forced it back to a tie to bring up the tiebreak. Cunha held off Johhnson in the tiebreak, however, registering the upset for Duke in a 6-4, 7-6 win that pulled Duke up 4-3 in the match for the victory.

USC was without #11 Robert Farah for singles in the match, due to injury, and Matt Kecki also was sidelined for the match with injury. The Trojans now turn to pay a visit to the host site for this year's NCAA Championships, taking on No. 6 Georgia on Friday (March 19) in a 2:30 p.m. ET match in Athens, Ga.

#50 Duke 4, #3 USC 3
March 17, 2010 - Durham, N.C.
(1) #3 Carleton/Cunha (DUKE) def. Farah/Sundling (USC) - 8-6
(2) Johnson/Nguyen (USC) def. Arnould/Holland (DUKE) - 8-6
(3) #44 Michel/Wietoska (DUKE) def. #49 Lucassen/Poldma (USC) - 8-4
Duke wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1
(1) #9 Henrique Cunha (DUKE) def. #1 Steve Johnson (USC) - 6-4, 7-6 (4)*
(2) #72 Jaak Poldma (USC) def. #118 Reid Carleton (DUKE) - 6-3, 6-1
(3) #89 Daniel Nguyen (USC) def. #79 Dylan Arnould (DUKE) - 7-5, 6-1
(4) Torsten Wietoska (DUKE) def. #84 Peter Lucassen (USC) - 6-1, 6-2
(5) David Holland (DUKE) def. #119 JT Sundling (USC) - 6-2, 6-3
(6) Jason McNaughton (USC) def. Alain Michel (DUKE) - 6-2, 7-5
Order of finish: 4, 2, 5, 3, 6, 1*

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