Aug. 31, 2012
Fully accustomed to winning matches while a Trojan, USC's Steve Johnson has proven a formidable foe at the pro level as well. Today, the Trojan was fearless in the second round of singles play at the US Open, making himself at home in Flushing Meadows as he notched his second win of the main draw.
Following a straight-set win in the US Open first round two days ago, Johnson kept it on cruise control for round two. Although today's second-round opponent, Ernests Gulbis, pulled out the win in the first set on a tiebreaker, Johnson stayed composed and tacked up a tiebreak win of his own in the second. A late break in the third boosted Johnson's confidence as he delivered a 6-3 win there, before forcing through to the third round on his 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4 comeback win over Gulbis
With his first two career US Open singles wins now in the books, Johnson moves into the third round to square off against No. 13 seed Richard Gasquet. Gasquet topped Stanford grad and close friend of Johnson, Bradley Klahn, in straight sets to advance.
Johnson also has shined in the doubles draw as well. Paired with countryman Jack Sock, the duo upset the draw's top seeds in the first round and are now lined up to face Cermak and Mertinak in the men's doubles second round next.
On the women's side, USC also has USC grad Maria Sanchez in the mix for women's doubles. She and partner Irina Falconi won their first-round match and now await No. 4 seed Kirilenjo and Petrova in round two.
Coincidentally, Falconi was teamed up with another Trojan -- Johnson himself -- in the mixed doubles realm. But that pairing took a 6-2, 6-2 loss to US Open veterans Kim Clijsters and Bob Bryan in the first round.