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NCAA men's tennis: UCLA cruises; USC loses a heartbreaker

May 18, 2013

The Pac-12 has one constituent remaining in the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships after UCLA advanced to the semifinals and USC fell just short in quarterfinal action. The men's tennis Final Four will begin Monday at 11 a.m. PT in Urbana, Ill. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"3535","attributes":{}}]]The Westwood Warriors still haven't given up a point in the NCAA tournament. Duke came into Saturday's action looking for its first ever berth in the semifinals after an impressive 22-5 (10-1 ACC) pre-NCAAs campaign earned the squad a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament. It was also a chance for revenge for the Blue Devils, who were facing the Bruins on the 16th anniversary of their 4-2 quarterfinal  loss to UCLA. That's as good as the story got for Duke however, as UCLA swept the Blue Devils 4-0 to advance to the Final Four. Billy Martin's boys had to work hard for the doubles point and not much else. Although Duke's Chris Mengel and Raphael Hemmeler won the first sets of their matches, Bruins on other courts made sure those matches remained unfinished: Dennis Novikov defeated two-time ACC Player of the Year Henrique Cunha 6-4, 6-4, Karue Sell nearly boatraced Jason Tahir and Adrien Puget provided the clincher to put the Bruins in the semifinals. The only team to qualify for the NCAA Championships every season in its current format (37 years running now), the Bruins will continue their quest for title No. 17 against... [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"3534","attributes":{}}]]Ohio State, which knocked off USC 4-3 in a pressure-cooker that wasn't decided until Ray Sarmiento's forehand sailed wide of the Court 2 playing surface. In a match that went nearly four hours, the doubles point proved vital: Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen just eked it out in No. 2 doubles over Emilio Gomez and Roberto Quiroz after Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson made the Buckeyes earn the doubles point in the third doubles match. The quarterfinal matchup see-sawed back and forth, oscillating between a one-point Buckeye edge and a tied contest.  Yannick Hanfmann forced it to seven by defeating Connor Smith 7-5, 7-6(4), leaving the fate of the Trojans in the hands of Sarmiento. Though he lost in two sets, Sarmiento made No. 8-ranked singles player Peter Kobelt earn it, falling to the Buckeyes 7-6(3), 7-6(3). With the Trojans' loss, there will be a new men's tennis champion: USC's streak of four consecutive national championships is officially over.

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