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USC’s Daniel Cukierman Claims NCAA Round of 16 Slots in Singles and In Doubles With Riley Smith

May 24, 2021

ORLANDO, FLA. — It was another winning day for USC senior Daniel Cukierman, who earned a singles victory in the morning before wrapping the day's action with doubles success alongside teammate Riley Smith. The victorious Monday out at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., sends Cukierman on to the Round of 16 in both the NCAA Singles and NCAA Doubles draws — the first appearances in both rounds for the senior. 

Riley Smith had the first match of the day, drawing a Round of 32 singles clash against No. 4 seeded Valentin Vacherot of Texas A&M. The Aggie was on point for this one, getting out ahead and then holding off Smith for a 6-1, 6-2 decision that brought the Trojan super senior's collegiate singles career to a close. In his five season served at USC, Smith accumulated a 78-39 career singles record after his 17-8 performance in 2021.

In his Round of 32 bout this morning, senior Daniel Cukierman jumped out ahead of Oklahoma State's #37 Matej Vocel with a decisive first-set win. Vocel fired back, forcing a third set that was tight until Cukierman managed on last break of Vocel to seal a  6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory that launches Cukierman into tomorrow's Round of 16. There, he'll face the tournament's No. 2 seed in South Carolina's Daniel Rodrigues for the rights to a quarterfinal slot. This is Cukierman's second NCAA Singles tournament trip, and his first venture into the Round of 16.

Cukierman and Smith would reconvene in the evening to take their first steps in the NCAA Doubles draw together. Ranked #10 in the nation, the two Trojans squared off against Texas A&M's #8 pair of Aguilar/Thomson. Cukierman/Smith established themselves as contenders early in taking the first set 6-3, and then gave up no ground in the next stretch in rattling off a 6-3, 6-0 win to make the leap into tomorrow's Round of 16. There, they'll take on another top-10 opponent in #2 ranks and fourth-seeded Fomba/Gray of TCU, whom the Trojan pair beat 7-5 in their last meeting back in February during ITA National Team Indoors.

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2021 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS (USTA National Campus | Orlando, Fla.)

Round of 64 - May 23
#49 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. [9-16] #12 Alastair Gray (TCU) - 6-3, 6-4
#52 Riley Smith (USC) def. #81 Lleyton Cronje (VCU) - 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5)

Round of 32 - May 24
#49 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. #37 Matej Vocel (OKST) - 6-1, 1-6, 6-4
[4] #5 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) def. #52 Riley Smith (USC) - 6-1, 6-2

Round of 16 - May 25
#49 Daniel Cukierman (USC) vs. [2] #2 Daniel Rodrigues (SC) -- 12 p.m. ET

Round of 32 - May 24
#10 Daniel Cukierman / Riley Smith (USC) def. #8 Aguilar/Thomson (TAMU) - 6-3, 6-0

Round of 16 - May 25
#10 Daniel Cukierman / Riley Smith (USC) vs. [4] #2 Fomba/Gray (TCU) -- 6 p.m. ET