LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 3 USC men's tennis team turned on the jets after a tight doubles point to power out ahead of visiting No. 14 Texas A&M today at Marks Stadium. The Trojans found a hot spark in Emilio Gomez, who delivered a near-perfect performance with a 6-0, 6-1 win in singles on court one. With that boost, the Trojans rolled on, receiving the clincher from Jonny Wang en route to the 6-1 victory, which improves USC's overall record to 17-2 with Pac-12 play fast approaching.
"It was great to have us play this well outdoors," USC head coach Peter Smith said. "I felt like we were an indoor team last week on our trips to Illinois and Notre Dame. The conditions were different for us today. We felt it early, and then we came on strong.
"Emilio was an absolute beast out there. He was a rock and we hope he can play with that energy the rest of the way."
The doubles point hung in the balance with tight matches on all three courts. The anchors in the doubles scene were Emilio Gomez and Roberto Quiroz, who were the only Trojan team never to trail in their match. Gomez/Quiroz would fight through to an 8-5 win over Adams/Vinsant at the No. 2 spot to give USC a much-needed lift. On court one, USC's #26 pair of Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento had clawed out of a 3-6 hole against Ore/Withrow, winning four straight games to tie it up. They'd go into a tiebreaker and took a 3-1 lead there before their teammates at the No. 3 spot came through with the clincher. On court three, Michael Grant and Eric Johnson made a final winning push to beat Efferding/Szabo with an 8-6 win that put the doubles point in USC's column to bring up singles play.
USC's #2 Emilio Gomez gave up no ground in his No. 2 singles match with #52 Jeremy Efferding. Gomez drilled out a 6-0, 6-1 win to take his Trojans to a 2-0 lead on the Aggies. #9 Ray Sarmiento buckled down next, winning six straight games to tally a 6-3, 6-1 win over Junior Ore from court two, and USC was in position with a 3-0 advantage. The Aggies would prove stronger on court four today, though. #77 Shane Vinsant was able to solve USC's #23 Roberto Quiroz and tack up a 6-3, 6-3 win that put a point up in favor of Texas A&M. From the No. 6 spot, however, USC's #90 Jonny Wang rendered that loss meaningless when he came through with the clincher. Wang powered out of a 3-0 hole in the second set to force the issue with Jordan Szabo, and Wang punched up a 6-2, 7-5 win that got USC to a 4-1 lead. At the No. 5 spot, meanwhile, #61 Eric Johnson was chugging ahead of #117 Jackson Withrow. Johnson leveled a 6-4, 6-4 win on Withrow, while Trojan teammate Yannick Hanfmann was under the gun in a 10-point tiebreaker on court three. #65 Hanfmann went on a four-point run to erase a two-point deficit and set himself up with match point. His opponent #118 Harrison Adams was able to fend off one match point, but not the second chance from the booming server Hanfmann. Hanfmann's 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-8) comeback win closed out the match, and gave the sophomore his 13th straight singles win.
USC now turns to engage in Pac-12 play later this week. The Trojans head north to face the Bay Area schools for their first conference competition of the season. USC will visit Stanford for a 1:30 p.m. match on Friday (March 29) in Palo Alto before taking to the airwaves with a televised match at California starting at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday (March 30) in Berkeley. The singles portion of the match will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks, starting at 3 p.m.
#3 USC 6, #14 Texas A&M 1
March 25, 2013 - Marks Stadium
(1) #26 Hanfmann/Sarmiento (USC) vs. Ore/Withrow (TAMU) - 8-8 (3-1 susp.)
(2) Gomez/Quiroz (USC) def. Adams/Vinsant (TAMU) - 8-5
(3) Grant/Johnson (USC) def. Efferding/Szabo (TAMU) - 8-6
USC wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 2, 3
(1) #2 Emilio Gomez (USC) def. #52 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU) - 6-0, 6-1
(2) #9 Ray Sarmiento (USC) def. Junior Ore (TAMU) - 6-3, 6-1
(3) #65 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. #118 Harrison Adams (TAMU) - 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-8)
(4) #77 Shane Vinsant (TAMU) def. #23 Roberto Quiroz (USC) - 6-3, 6-3
(5) #61 Eric Johnson (USC) def. #117 Jackson Withrow (TAMU) - 6-4, 6-4
(6) #90 Jonny Wang (USC) def. Jordan Szabo (TAMU) - 6-2, 7-5*
Order of finish: 1, 2, 4, 6*, 5, 3