No. 1 USC Upset by No. 51 Tulsa 4-3|
Feb. 28, 2015
LOS ANGELES - The No. 1 USC men's tennis team was shocked by No. 51 Tulsa as they were upset 4-3 in Marks Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 28. This is the second loss for the Trojans this season, with the first being against Oklahoma in the championship match of the ITA National Indoor Championships two weeks ago. This loss puts the Trojans at 10-2 overall.
Three new doubles pairs made appearances for the Trojans to open the match: Eric Johnson and Roberto Quiroz on court one, Yannick Hanfmann and Jonny Wang on court two and Tanner Smith and Thibault Forget on court three. Smith and Forget powered through their match against Tulsa's No. 33 Bautista/Espejo and finished with a dominating 6-0 score. As soon as the fans in Marks Stadium swiveled their heads from court three to court two, the duo of Hanfmann and Wang closed out their match with a strong 6-1 score to collect the doubles point.
With the Trojans breezing through doubles, it appeared that their steady momentum would continue over into the singles portion of the competition. However, Tulsa turned on their "A-game" and began to exert their revenge from doubles. On court one, No. 6 Yannick Hanfmann was served his first singles loss of the season. Tulsa's No. 71 Or Ram-Harel beat Hanfmann 6-3, 6-2 to tie up the score at 1-1.
USC's No. 31 Jonny Wang was next to finish on court three. He won the first set in a close battle with a 7-5 score. In the second set, Wang came in racquets ablaze as he earned the first singles point for the Trojans by beating Matthew Kirby with a steady 6-0 win.
On court two, USC's No. 20 Roberto Quiroz was in a heated battle with Tulsa's Alejandro Espejo. Espejo took the first set 6-4, but Quiroz came back in the second set from being down 4-5, to tie it up 6-6. Unfortunately, he dropped the tiebreak game of the second set 0-7 to his Tulsa opponent to give Quiroz his second singles loss this season. This win for Tulsa tied up the score 2-2.
The rest of the singles matches came down to the wire, as three sets appeared to be the trend for the remainder of the day.
USC's Connor Farren claimed the first set 6-3 on court six, but his Tulsa opponent, Dylan McCloskey, came in hot to claim the second set 6-4. In a nail bitter of a third set, the match came down to a tiebreaker. Farren was down 2-6 in the tiebreak, but he powered through four points to tie it back up at 6-6. Tulsa responded with some well-placed shots to claim the next two points and the win 7-6 (8-6).
With only two courts left competing, all eyes were on court five as it appeared it would finish first. Rob Bellamy dropped the first set to Tulsa's Mitchel Pritchard 6-4, but battled back to win the second set 7-5. With a close score, Bellamy and Pritchard were locked in another third set tiebreak. The two players went point for point in the game, but Pritchard had the final word as he pulled ahead with a final score of 7-6 (5) to clinch the match for Tulsa.
Court four was the last in motion. No. 72 Max de Vroome claimed the first set 7-5, but Tulsa's Carlos Bautista took set two with a 7-5 score of his own. The score of the third set remained close at 5-5. With this being the last match of the day, it was determined by the coaches that a tiebreak to seven points would determine the winner. De Vroome fought and won the tiebreaker 7-4 to secure the third point for the Trojans.
USC will next travel to La Jolla, Calif. to compete in the Pacific Coast Doubles Championships from Thursday, March 5 through Sunday, March 8. Also on March 5, the Trojans will face No. 30 San Diego while on their road trip.
#1 USC 3, #51 Tulsa 4