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Univ. of Southern California Men Team News
No. 6 USC Men Push On In Pac-12 Play With Arizona And Utah In Town
Thursday, 04/13/2017

The No. 6 Trojans settle back into their home courts at Marks Stadium this week to welcome two out-of-state Pac-12 opponents to town. USC (20-4, 3-1 Pac-12) will first take aim at Arizona (9-13, 0-4) in a 2:30 p.m. matchup on Friday (April 14) that will be televised on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Arizona, with Brian Webber and Justin Gimelstob on the call. Next, the Trojans will take on Utah (15-7, 1-3) in a 1 p.m. clash on Saturday (April 15).
For the 10th straight season, the USC men’s tennis team kicked off the new year ranked in the nation’s top-10 of the Oracle/ITA rankings. The Trojans opened 2017 ranked No. 10 in the nation. As of the latest set of national team rankings (April 11), USC sits at No. 6 in the land after spending previous weeks at No. 8, 9, 12, 10, 14, 7 and 5. The latest individual rankings of 2017 (released April 11) has two Trojans ranked in singles and three ranked doubles teams. In this latest round of rankings, freshman Brandon Holt remains at the top of the list for the Trojans as sits at No. 23 in the nation in singles. Sophomore Logan Smith is next in line, now slotted at No. 72 in singles. In doubles, USC’s freshman duo of Holt and Riley Smith remains at No. 11 in the nation. Senior Nick Crystal and sophomore Laurens Verboven are up to No. 76 in the land, and junior Thibault Forget and Logan Smith are now paired up at No. 80.
The Wildcats are 9-13 overall and 0-4 in Pac-12 play after falling to Washington 4-3 and to Oregon 4-1 last week. Arizona has no players nationally ranked in singles or doubles. USC is 99-2 all-time against the Wildcats in a series that dates back to 1932. USC has won the last 13 matches against Arizona, with the last Wildcat win coming in a 4-3 decision on March 31, 2006 in Tucson. Last year, USC beat Arizona 4-0 in Tucson.
The Utes enter the week 15-7 overall and 1-3 in Pac-12 play after a 4-0 loss to Oregon and a 4-2 win over Washington last week. Utah has no players nationally ranked in singles or doubles. USC is 31-1 all-time against the Utes in a series that dates back to 1962. Last year, USC beat Utah 4-1 in Salt Lake City.
USC head coach Peter Smith notched his 600th career win as a head coach on March 31. Eager to lock in the historic victory, two Trojans punched up wins almost simultaneously to top off the match as a 5-0 winning finish against visiting No. 23 Oregon at Marks Stadium. In the photo finish, it was sophomore Jack Jaede who clinched it from court four just a half-second before Thibault Forget won his match at the No. 5 spot. Already with five NCAA Championships claimed at the helm of the USC program, Smith’s 600th career win puts another indelible mark next to his name in the history books of collegiate tennis. Now in his 15th season at USC, Smith has matched the total time he spent at the helm of the Long Beach State, Fresno State and Pepperdine programs combined. With USC’s 20-4 overall record in 2017, Smith’s total career record now stands at 602-221, while the Trojans boast their 10th 20-win season in the past 11 years.
USC got a road split last week in the Bay Area, falling 4-1 at No. 19 Stanford before regrouping and collecting a 4-0 win over No. 12 Cal. Against the Cardinal, USC was able to snag a tight doubles point, but Stanford fired off a string of four straight-set singles wins to top the Trojans. USC got out of the gates with a 6-4 win from Rob Bellamy and Jack Jaede at the No. 3 spot on the doubles courts. The Cardinal countered with a 6-4 win on court one as Fawcett/Goldberg toppled USC’s top guns, #11 freshmen Brandon Holt and Riley Smith to tangle up the doubles action. On court two, USC’s Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven dug in when it counted and punched up the opening point for the Trojan cause with their 7-5 decision over Stanford’s #69 Genender/Kumar. In singles, Stanford was all business, claiming the first sets every court. The Cardinal would hit the gas from there, as Sameer Kumar leveled the match at 1-1 with his 6-4, 6-2 win over USC’s #109 Crystal on court two. Soon after, David Wilczynski took out another ranked Trojan with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over #65 Logan Smith at the No. 2 spot to take the Cardinal up 2-1. On court one, Stanford’s #17 Tom Fawcett posted a 6-4, 6-2 win over USC’s #19 Holt to make it 3-1, setting up the Cardinal for the clincher. On court five, Brandon Sutter decided the match in Stanford’s favor with his 7-6, 6-1 win over USC’s Thibault Forget, getting the hosts the victory and suspending action on courts four and six. The next afternoon at Cal, USC claimed another tight doubles point, but kept its focus afterward. Bellamy/Jaede came through with the opening win once again, cleaning up on court three with a 6-4 victory before Cal made things interesting with a 6-4 win on court two from #65 Goransson/Griffith over USC’s Crystal/Verboven. The pressure was on court one to get it done this time, and USC’s #11 Holt/R. Smith came through with a 7-5 upset of Cal’s #2 Bergevi/Lakat to chalk up the opening point for the Trojans. In singles, USC needed to redeem itself after its struggles at Stanford. Righting the ship on court five was junior Forget, who cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win over Bjorn Hoffman to get USC a little breathing room, up 2-0. Next, USC’s #65 Logan Smith also got back his winning edge in finishing off a 6-2, 7-5 win over Cal’s #85 Billy Griffith on court three. As tight matches raged on the remaining courts, that when USC’s Jaede clicked into gear. The sophomore was in a serious hole, having lost the first set 6-4 and trailing 4-0 in the second before changing course entirely. Jaede rattled off the last 12 games of the match to win it and clinch it with his 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 comeback victory over Filip Bergevi on court four, and USC had the 4-0 victory in hand.
It was going to be a season of firsts no matter what for Brandon Holt, who has stepped into a key role for the Trojans as a freshman. Rightly so, Holt was the first Trojan to be named Pac-12 Player of the Week after another winning week. USC leads the conference in all-time Pac-12 Player of the Week awards, having claimed its 49th on the men’s side with Holt’s selection on Feb. 27. In two tight 4-3 wins, Holt came through in the clutch with singles victories that gave USC a leg up in both matches. Against No. 33 Cal Poly, Holt and fellow freshman Riley Smith scored a win over #35 Donovan/Pang in doubles on court one. In singles, Holt tallied a straight-set victory over #57 Ben Donovan — again on court one — to push his Trojans out to a 23-2 lead in an eventual 4-3 victory over the visiting Mustangs. The next day against No. 35 Stanford, Holt was on his game once again. This time, the freshman took down Stanford’s #12-ranked Tom Fawcett with another decisive straight-set win, beating the Cardinal’s top gun 6-4, 6-2 to get a 2-1 lead for USC in a match that the Trojans would finally wrap as another 4-3 victory. Now ranked #19 in the nation in singles, Holt leads USC in singles and doubles wins this season. He’s currently 29-8 overall in singles and has paired with Riley Smith for a #11 national ranking in gathering a 21-5 record together to date.
The USC men’s tennis team’s hottest hand right now belongs to freshman Riley Smith, who rode a 10-match singles win streak to his first selection as Pac-12 Player of the Week, earned on March 20. Smith collected four singles wins and four doubles victories during a stretch of five matches that week, including a perfect singles run at the BNP Paribas Collegiate Cup in Indian Wells. Smith’s selection as Pac-12 Player of the Week made him the second Trojan to win the award this season and brings the program its 50th all-time weekly honor from the conference on the men’s side — adding to the record count held by the Trojans. Smith’s winning week opened up with a hand in USC’s 7-0 sweep of Lehigh, as he and fellow freshman — and fellow Pac-12 Player of the Week honoree this year — Brandon Holt whipped up a 6-2 victory at the No. 1 doubles spot. Smith would not play singles in that one, but he’d step up as a crucial cog in the next four contests, winning all four of his singles matches to log either the first or second singles point in each match. In doubles, Smith and Holt took losses in the Texas Tech and Oklahoma matches, but came up with key wins against South Florida and Baylor to help the Trojans claim the doubles point. In singles, Smith continued his winning ways with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Jackson Cobb in USC’s 4-3 victory over Texas Tech at Marks Stadium. Out in Indian Wells, Smith captured a 6-0, 6-4 win over Pierre Luquet to anchor a 4-0 shutout of South Florida before snagging a 6-4, 6-3 win over Adrian Oetzbach in a 4-1 win over No. 9 Oklahoma. And in the championship match against No. 6 Baylor, Smith again reigned supreme on court six with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Constantin Frantzen to lock up the freshman’s 10th consecutive singles win. Now with 11 straight singles wins, Smith is currently 21-6 overall in singles play while he and Holt hold a 21-5 record together in doubles play this season.
As dual match play continues to roll along, two Trojans now have broken ground on the 20-win club to date with several more closing the gap. Freshman Brandon Holt claimed his 20th singles win back in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend championship bout against San Diego, and he now boasts 29 singles wins to lead the Trojans to date. More freshly inked in the 20-win zone are three Trojans — freshman Riley Smith,(20-6 and riding an 11-match win streak) and sophomores Jack Jaede (20-5) and Logan Smith (20-15) — while junior Thibault Forget is already stands firmly lodged in the club with a 23-13 overall record. Knocking on the door is senior Rob Bellamy (19-7). Jaede boasts the longest win streak of the season, having posted 13 straight wins from Jan. 15-March 14. In doubles, USC’s winningest pair is currently the talented freshman duo of Brandon Holt and Riley Smith with 21 wins together to date. Right behind them in the win column is senior-sophomore combo pack of Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven, who have claimed 19 wins.
In mid-March, the Trojans spent their Spring Break out in Indian Wells to take part in the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Challenge. There, USC opened up in cruise control with a 4-0 win over No. 32 South Florida as the Trojans drummed up the doubles point and got singles wins from Brandon Holt, Riley Smith and then Logan Smith to clinch a quick victory. That put USC in the semifinals the next day against No. 9 Oklahoma, and again USC grabbed the doubles point. Riley Smith picked up the first singles win, but Oklahoma fired back with a win on court four. USC would regroup and net a 3-1 lead from Logan Smith on court three and then the clincher from senior Nick Crystal at the No. 2 spot to tally a 4-1 win that put USC in the title match. Up against No. 6 Baylor for the second time this season, USC looked to be in early control, getting up 3-0 on the Bears before the momentum shifted. Baylor snagged wins on courts two, one and five to level it up at 3-3, and then #35 Max Tchoutakian managed a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 comeback over USC’s #45 Logan Smith to clinch a 4-3 championship victory over the Trojans, avenging a 4-2 loss taken back in February at the ITA National Team Indoors.
In its ninth straight trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, USC wound up facing off against crosstown rival UCLA in the Round of 16 out in Charlottesville, Va. USC grabbed the opening point with a gutsy win in doubles, but the No. 7 Bruins were able to pull off a 4-3 win over the Trojans with a strong stand in singles. Relegated to consolation play from there, USC continued its success in doubles, and rang up a swift 5-0 win over Utah State the next day. In their final match at the event, the Trojans locked in on another doubles point and would hold off a tough No. 13 Baylor squad to wrap the trip with a 4-2 victory. The biggest winners on the weekend for USC were Jack Jaede, who collected three singles wins from his spot on court five, and the doubles pair of Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven, who also drummed up three wins in three matches from court two.
Brandon Holt was the star of the fall for the Trojans, posting a 17-3 record out of the gates while snagging the consolation title at the ITA All-American to earn a place at ITA National Indoors in New York, and while also winning the Southern California Intercollegiate crown. Logan Smith’s highlight for the fall was a run to the ITA Southwest Regional singles semifinals, while accumulating a 9-6 singles mark. Nick Crystal, meanwhile, had faced Holt in that Southern California Intercollegiate semi, and also competed at the ITA Oracle and ITA All-American events en route to a 6-5 fall singles record. Thibault Forget racked up 11 wins in the fall, going 11-4 while reaching the ITA Southwest Regional singles title match along the way.
This spring, the USC men are looking to open up another path to the NCAA Tournament. With five national championships claimed in the last eight years, Peter Smith’s Trojans are poised for another successful campaign. Coming off a 2016 journey to the NCAA Round of 16, the 2017 Trojans look to improve on that 17-7 record from last season. With the loss of just one senior from that team, USC has a powerful arrangement of young and experienced talent this year. The 2017 Oracle/ITA singles rankings were a reflection of that balance, as USC had a freshman (Brandon Holt), sophomore (Logan Smith), junior (Thibault Forget) and senior (Nick Crystal) nationally ranked to open 2017.
For the 10th straight season, USC men’s tennis kicked off the new year ranked in the nation’s top-10 of the Oracle/ITA rankings. The Trojans opened 2017 ranked No. 10 in the nation. The first individual rankings of 2017 (released Jan. 4) saw four Trojans ranked in singles and two ranked doubles teams. In that latest round of rankings, freshman Brandon Holt topped the list for the Trojans as he opens his USC career ranked No. 20 in the nation in singles. Sophomore Logan Smith held his highest career rank, slotted at No. 28 in singles. Senior Nick Crystal weighed in at No. 88, and junior Thibault Forget ranked No. 114 to kick off the new year. In doubles, USC had Forget and Logan Smith listed as the No. 35 doubles pair in the nation, with senior Rob Bellamy also paired with Smith at No. 49 to open the 2017 campaign.
The USC men’s and women’s tennis teams have called the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium home since its construction in 1971. This season, Trojan tennis enjoys its first full season in its revamped and renovated home that is now up-to-date and in line with the impressive accomplishments of both programs. The ribbon-cutting and dedication for the new facility was held on Feb. 16 to officially unveil the newest additions to the Marks Tennis Stadium — the Buntmann Family Tennis Center, Fritz B. Burns Center Court, Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Center and Michael Uytengsu Tennis Pavilion — the happy home of the USC men’s and women’s tennis teams. The Buntmann Family Tennis Center entrance and lobby welcomes fans and visitors and put on display the rich history of USC tennis. To improve the building functionality and support the tennis program operations, the new Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Studio supports direct collaboration between coaches, staff and athletes on a daily basis. The teams also utilize and enjoy brand-new suites with lockers, showers, team meeting rooms and lounges. Both teams have access to a new training room, a stringing storage area and a large multi-purpose room. To better accommodate and enhance the spectator experience, new spectator shade canopies have been added and a new elevator to the seating area has been installed. In addition to the lead gift from the Buntmann family, the renovation has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman family, the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, John Shea and Michael Uytengsu.