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No. 1 USC Men Battle Back To Beat No. 19 Kentucky 4-3

Feb 10, 2021

CHAMPAIGN, ILL. — The No. 1 USC men's tennis team took to the indoor courts today, taking on No. 19 Kentucky in a neutral-site match at Dodds Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill. The Trojans were tuning up for the coming ITA National Team Indoor Championship, which runs Feb. 12-14 and which offers USC an opportunity to defend the 2020 title it won at last year's event. In today's tilt with the Wildcats, USC had to dig out of a doubles deficit. The Trojans would string together the singles wins they needed, with Riley Smith securing the clincher in an eventual 4-3 win. The victory keeps the Trojans undefeated on the year at 7-0.

USC would tally the first win of the day with top-ranked Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith's swift 6-1 win on court one in doubles. But the Wildcats fired back with victories on courts two and three to set up for singles with Kentucky up 1-0 in the match.

Momentum would shift when two Trojans hammered out straight-set wins in singles for get USC the lead. On court six, Jake Sands sprinted to a 6-2,6-3 win over Yasha Zemel to tie things up 1-1, and then #26 Mor Bulis stormed to a 6-3, 7-5 win on court three over Millen Hurrion to get USC a step ahead. At the No. 4 spot, Lodewijk Weststrate continued his winning ways in delivering a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 decision over Kentucky's #123 Joshua Lapadat, putting USC a win away from clinching victory. The Wildcats interrupted that surge when #45 Liam Draxl snapped a 12-match win streak held by USC's #1 Daniel Cukierman with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win on court one to make it 3-2. That's when #19 Riley Smith pounced and closed out his three-set comeback effort on court two, beating Gabriel Diallo 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 to lock in the win with USC up 4-2. The match would play out, and the Wildcats netted one more point with César Bourgois's 2-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5 win over Bradley Frye on court five.

The Trojans are the top seed in the upcoming ITA National Team Indoor Championship, opening up with a quarterfinal bout on Friday (Feb. 12) against host Illinois at 6:30 p.m. CT at Atkins Tennis Center. A win there would push the Trojans into a 6:30 p.m. CT semifinal on Saturday (Feb. 13). The championship match is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on Sunday (Feb. 14) following a 3:30 p.m. CT third-place match. For more information, draw and links to live scores and video, visit

#1 USC 4, #19 Kentucky 3
Feb. 10, 2021 | Dodds Tennis Center (Champaign, Ill.)
(1) #1 Cukierman/R. Smith (USC) def. Bourgois/Diallo (UK) - 6-1
(2) Hurrion/Zemel (UK) def. Bulis/Jackson (USC) - 6-4
(3) Draxl/Leblanc (UK) def. Frye/C. Smith (USC) - 6-3
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
Kentucky wins doubles point
(1) #45 Liam Draxl (UK) def. #1 Daniel Cukierman (USC) - 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
(2) #19 Riley Smith (USC) def. Gabriel Diallo (UK) - 4-6, 6-2, 6-4*
(3) #26 Mor Bulis (USC) def. Millen Hurrion (UK) - 6-3, 7-5
(4) Lodewijk Weststrate (USC) def. #123 Joshua Lapadat (UK) - 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
(5) César Bourgois (UK) def. Bradley Frye (USC) - 2-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5
(6) Jake Sands (USC) def. Yasha Zemel (UK) - 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish:  6, 3, 4, 1, 2*, 5