Trojans Strong On Clay; Nick Crystal Finishes As Finalist|
Nov. 2, 2014
ORLANDO, FLA. -- USC sophomore Nick Crystal had a stellar run on clay this week, making journeys to the singles title match and the doubles semifinals at the USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational in Orlando, Fla. USC had five Trojans in action out east, and two USC doubles teams worked to semifinal appearances while Crystal had to lock horns with teammate Max de Vroome in the singles quarterfinals in order to progress along to the final.
Crystal's powerful performance saw the sophomore knock off three seeded opponents en route to the final. The unseeded Trojan served up straight-set upsets of 9-16 seed Marco Nunez of Florida State in the Round of 32 and then No. 6 seed Mike Vermeer of Columbia to set up an all-Trojan quarterfinal bout. USC junior Max de Vroome was looking to make his second consecutive trip to the title match -- having fallen to teammate Roberto Quiroz in last year's singles final. In this year's quarters, Crystal and de Vroome were neck-and-neck, but Crystal proved cleaner in the tiebreakers, beating de Vroome 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) to advance to the semis. A three-set victory there over Auburn's Max Hinnisdaels punched Crystal's ticket to the title match, where he faced top-seeded Hunter Harrington of Clemson this morning. Harrington managed the 6-2, 6-3 win in that one, putting Crystal as the runner-up on clay today.
USC had pushed four Trojans into the quarterfinals, as Rob Bellamy and Eric Johnson joined Crystal and de Vroome in that round. Bellamy, who had gutted out back-to-back three-set wins to get there, was up against top-seeded Harrington in his quarterfinal bout, and fell in three sets to the eventual champ. Johnson, too, was upended in the quarterfinal round.
In doubles, Bellamy was paired up with Johnson, while Crystal and de Vroome were locked in as the No. 2 seeded team in the draw. Bellamy/Johnson delivered two wins, including an 8-5 upset of the No. 4 seeded pair in the quarterfinals, to reach the semis. There, Bellamy/Johnson were just barely edged out by the top seeds, taking a 6-1, 3-6, 1-0 (9) loss to Georgia Tech's Benito/Segura. So, too, did Crystal/de Vroome wind up with a tough loss in a 10-point breaker to decide their semifinal bout. Crystal/de Vroome had posted an 8-3 win in the Round of 16 and pulled off an 8-6 decision in the quarters to advance to the semis along with their teammates. Up against Princeton's Colautti/McCourt, Crystal and de Vroome forced the decider with a powerful second set, but wound up with a 7-5, 0-6, 1-0 (6) decision to wrap their run in the doubles draw.
Complete USC results from Orlando are below.
2014 USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational
Round of 32 - Oct. 31
Round of 16 - Oct. 31
Quarterfinals - Nov. 1
Semifinals - Nov. 1
Championship - Nov. 2
Quarterfinals - Oct. 31
Semifinals - Nov. 1