No. 3 Men's Tennis Upended by No. 2 USC
SEATTLE - The No. 3 UCLA men's tennis team suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday afternoon in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors, falling to No. 2 USC, 4-3 at the University of Washington's Nordstrom Tennis Center.
After both teams split victories at court Nos. 2 and 3 in doubles play, the point came down to court No. 1, where Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov upset 48th-ranked Ray Sarmiento and Yannick Hanfmann, 8-4. It was a key win for Giron and Novikov, who had six of their last seven matches suspended heading into the showdown with USC.
UCLA's 1-0 lead didn't last for long however, as Hanfmann came out strong in singles play, evening things up when he downed Dennis Mkrtchian, 6-2, 6-4 at court No. 4. It marked the only straight-set victory of the afternoon, as all five remaining matches were eventually decided by a third set.
Following Hanfmann's win, the two teams then traded victories to tie things up again at 2-2. Novikov downed Sarmiento, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 at court No. 1, and USC's Eric Johnson downed Karue Sell, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 at court No. 6.
The Trojans (11-0) were able to take a 3-2 lead when 10th-ranked Emilio Gomez beat Giron, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 at court No. 2. Bruin junior Clay Thompson then made the score 3-3, as he beat Max De Vroome, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at court No. 5.
Sunday's dual match was eventually decided at court No. 3 where 23rd-ranked Roberto Quiroz beat 43rd-ranked Adrien Puget, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) to give USC the 4-3 victory.
All five three-set matches were won by the player who lost the first set.
The loss concludes UCLA's involvement at the National Team Indoors, while USC advances to Monday's final and will meet either No. 1 Virginia or No. 4 Ohio State. Click HERE to visit the official USTA/ITA National Team Indoor page.
The two teams will square off again in less than a week, as UCLA's next match is at USC on Feb. 22.
USTA/ITA National Team Indoors (Semifinals)
#2 USC 4, #3 UCLA 3
Feb 17, 2013 at Seattle, WA (Nordstrom Tennis Center)
1. Giron/Novikov (UCLA) def. #48 Hanfmann/Sarmiento (USC) 8-4
2. Puget/Sell (UCLA) def. De Vroome/Quiroz (USC) 8-2
3. #49 Gomez/Johnson (USC) def. Alex Brigham/Mkrtchian (UCLA) 8-4
UCLA Wins Doubles Point
1. #58 Dennis Novikov (UCLA) def. #12 Ray Sarmiento (USC) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
2. #10 Emilio Gomez (USC) def. #13 Marcos Giron (UCLA) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
3. #23 Roberto Quiroz (USC) def. #42 Adrien Puget (UCLA) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
4. #94 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. #55 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA) 6-2, 6-4
5. Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. #109 Max De Vroome (USC) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
6. #46 Eric Johnson (USC) def. Karue Sell (UCLA) 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
UCLA 9-1; National ranking #3
USC 12-0; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,1,6,2,5,3)