USC’s Daniel Cukierman, Riley Smith Tabbed For NCAA Men’s Tennis Individual Action
USC men's tennis will be well represented in the upcoming NCAA Singles and Doubles draws, with captains Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith playing out their final seasons as Trojans with spots in NCAA individual action. Both have secured places in the 64-player NCAA Singles draw, while also combining forces as automatic qualifiers together for the 32-team NCAA Doubles competition coming up in Orlando, Fla., later this month. Cukierman also is an automatic qualifier as the Pac-12's top singles player.
Senior Daniel Cukierman will make his second career journey into the NCAA Singles draw, and as a former top-ranked singles player, Cukierman's hopes are high for a shot at winning it all. A 2019 ITA All-American in singles, he reached the Round of 32 as a sophomore. This season, he carries a 14-5 overall record into NCAA Team competition this weekend, where he has reigned as USC's top gun in dual-match play and has clinched a team-high five matches.
Super senior Riley Smith will be making his NCAA Singles debut in fifth year as a Trojan with this year's selection to the draw. A mainstay at the No. 2 singles slot for the Trojans, Smith has held a career-high singles ranking of No. 14 during this 2021 campaign. He holds a 15-5 overall singles mark as he and his Trojans enter NCAA Team play this week.
After starting the year ranked No. 1 in the nation together, the senior tandem of Cukierman and Smith weighed in at No. 10 in the land in the last round of rankings. The duo is USC's winningest pair this season, boasting an 18-4 overall record as the NCAA Team Tournament arises later this week. The two Trojans were All-Americans together in 2020 after helping drive USC to the 2020 ITA National Team Indoor Championships — where they earned All-Tournament Team honors — and up to a No. 1 team ranking by year's end. As the 2020 postseason was not played due to the coronavirus pandemic, this will be Cukierman and Smith's first NCAA Doubles trip together. Smith has made previous NCAA journeys with former teammate Brandon Holt, reaching the Round of 16 in 2018 and making Round of 32 appearances in 2017 and 2019.
Following the NCAA Team Championship event, where the Trojans are seeded No. 12, NCAA Individual competition is set to run May 23-28 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.