USC Men Open 2021 With Top Team, Singles And Doubles Rankings
The USC men's tennis team is entering the new year with authority, boasting a sweep of the ITA national rankings as the No. 1 team with the No. 1 singles player and No. 1 doubles pair. As the Trojans prepare to start up their 2021 campaign, USC head coach Brett Masi has his team at the top, while senior Daniel Cukierman stands tall as the nation's No. 1 singles player as well as pairing with returning senior Riley Smith for that No. 1 doubles rank.
When 2020 competition was suspended back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, USC was coming off a big victory at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Trojans were No. 1 in the nation, and Cukierman was the No. 1 singles player. Now 10 months later, Masi's Trojans remain the leaders in the nation, and Cukierman is resoundingly the nation's top gun with his top individual rankings.
Cukierman had posted a 26-2 singles record in his junior season, winning the Oracle ITA Masters and Sherwood Collegiate singles titles along the way to his No. 1 stance. He and Riley Smith had paired up for a 10-1 doubles mark last season, also claiming the Sherwood Collegiate crown. Both earned ITA All-American honors in 2020, and both captains are back with all their stripes to lead the top-ranked Trojans into 2021. Smith also has lodged himself in the top-20 of the national rankings in gripping the No. 19 spot on the singles ladder.
Cukierman and Smith have plenty of firepower alongside them. A testament to the Trojans' No. 1 team ranking, USC brings back its depth charge of talent. Three other Trojans also have earned national rankings to kick off 2021. Junior Mor Bulis is ranked No. 26, and sophomores Ryder Jackson and Stefan Dostanic weigh in at No. 79 and No. 104, respectively. In doubles, in addition to Cukierman and Smith's upgrade to No. 1 after finishing up 2020 at No. 5, USC has Bulis and Dostanic paired up with a spot at No. 50.
The closest the Trojans have gotten to such an ITA rankings sweep according to records was in 2012 and 2010 when USC was No. 1 as a team, had the No. 1 singles player and the No. 2 doubles pair in the nation.
2021 ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS (as of Jan. 14)
#1 Daniel Cukierman
#19 Riley Smith
#26 Mor Bulis
#79 Ryder Jackson
#104 Stefan Dostanic
#1 Daniel Cukierman & Riley Smith
#50 Mor Bulis & Stefan Dostanic