No. 9 USC Men Double Up Again At Marks Stadium|
Feb. 8, 2017
The No. 9 Trojans are back in LA this week to set up for another doubleheader at Marks Stadium. USC (6-1) will take on two opponents on Friday (Feb. 10), starting the day with an 11 a.m. clash against UC Davis. After that match wraps up, the Trojans turn to face San Francisco in a 3 p.m. matchup.
ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
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 (Feb. 8), USC is at No. 9 in the land after two cycles at the No. 8 spot. The latest individual rankings of 2017 (released Feb. 8) has four Trojans ranked in singles and three ranked doubles teams. In that latest round of rankings, freshman Brandon Holt remains at the top of the list for the Trojans as he’s upgraded his ranking to No. 13 in the nation in singles. Sophomore Logan Smith is next in line, now slotted at No. 36 in singles. Two more Trojans are enjoying their first career appearances in the national rankings, with senior Rob Bellamy ranked No. 97 and sophomore Jack Jaede at No. 119. In doubles, USC’s freshman duo of Holt and Riley Smith has popped up into the rankings for the first time, sitting at No. 32 in the nation. Senior Nick Crystal and junior Laurens Verboven are locked in at No. 35, and Thibault Forget and Logan Smith are paired up at No. 40.
The Aggies are 1-2 overall after beating USF 4-3 last week. UC Davis has no players ranked nationally in singles or doubles. USC is 2-0 all-time against UC Davis after picking up a 7-0 sweep in last year’s ITA Kick-Off Weekend at Marks Stadium.
The Dons are 2-2 overall after falling to UC Davis 4-3 and beating Fresno State 4-3 last week. USF has has no players ranked nationally in singles or doubles. USC is 10-3 all-time against San Francisco after a 6-1 sweep in a 2013 meeting at Marks Stadium.
USC picked up a split at the fourth edition of the Pac-12/SEC Showdown. Up against No. 11 host Florida on the first day, the Trojans took their first loss of the year — and first loss at the event — in a 4-3 defeat to the Gators. The next day, though, the Trojans rebounded and upset No. 5 Georgia 4-0. Against the Gators on Saturday, USC picked up the doubles point to open the match, but Florida responded by snagging the first four singles wins in that next stretch to secure victory before two Trojans tallied wins in the final two matches. At the No. 2 spot in doubles, USC’s Nick Crystal and Lauren Verboven whipped up a 6-3 win over Florida’s Lipman/Perez-Blanco. As a battle ensued on court one, another tense match was playing out at the No. 3 position. There, it was USC’s Rob Bellamy and Jack Jaede who locked in a 1-0 lead for the Trojans on a gutsy 7-5 win over Florida’s Kessler/Orkin. That suspend play between USC’s freshman pairing of Brandon Holt and Riley Smith against Florida’s #3 Ingildsen/Perez on court one, and brought up singles action. Florida would tangle up the match at 1-1 when #13 Alfredo Perez worked out to a 6-1, 6-2 win over USC’s #28 sophomore Logan Smith on court one. The Gators would grab the lead soon after when #64 Elliott Orkin managed a 6-3, 6-3 win over USC’s #88 senior Nick Crystal at the No. 3 spot. Florida would move closer to the finish line when Johannes Ingildsen forged ahead of USC freshman Riley Smith on court six. That 7-5, 6-3 Gator win had Florida up 3-1 in the match. On court three, USC’s #114 Thibault Forget fought off two match points to extend his match against #67 McClain Kessler, but Kessler was about to win it after surrendering a third match point, closing out a 7-5, 6-4 win over Forget that clinched the match for the Gators with the hosts up 4-1 on the Trojans. The teams would play out the remaining matches, and the Trojans were far from done. In three-setters on courts two and five, USC was able to register the last two wins of the day. On court two, USC’s #20 freshman Brandon Holt made a three-set comeback to beat Florida’s Chase Perez-Blanco in an impressive 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 battle from behind. Finally, on court five, USC sophomore Jack Jaede stayed focused and pulled off a third-set tiebreaker to beat #98 Maxx Lipman 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (6) and wrap the day’s action in Gainesville. The following day against Georgia, USC secured a quick doubles point and then rattled off a string of straight-set singles wins, including the clincher coming from Jack Jaede on court five. Doubles play opened in similar fashion as the previous day for the Trojans, with Bellamy/Jaede speeding to victory on court three. The Trojan duo posted a 6-2 win over Georgia’s Montgomery/Ponwith. Just a minute later, freshman duo Holt/R. Smith closed out a 6-4 win over Loeb/Zielinski to tack that 1-0 lead on the board for USC and suspend a tight match on court two between USC’s Crystal/Verboven and Georgia’s Duncan/Oosterbaan. Singles action saw Rob Bellamy step into the singles lineup and provide a winning spark with a smooth 6-2, 6-3 win on court six over Georgia’s Robert Loeb. Soon after Bellamy’s win tugged the Trojans ahead 2-0, USC’s #20 Holt grabbed a 6-1, 6-4 victory at the No. 2 spot over #31 Emil Reinberg to set the table for a USC clincher. That decider would come from court five, where Jaede continued his winning ways with a 6-1, 7-6 victory over #79 Walker Duncan to cap off a 4-0 advantage and the shutout win for the Trojans.
BY THE NUMBERS
As dual match play develops, one Trojans has broken ground on the 20-win club to date. Freshman Brandon Holt claimed his 20th singles win in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend championship bout against San Diego, and he now boast 23 singles wins to lead the Trojans to date. Behind Holt’s charge, there are four Trojans who have claimed double-digit singles victories so far this season. Senior Rob Bellamy hit his 16th win last weekend, and junior Thibault Forget holds 15 singles wins so far, with junior Henry Ji and sophomore Logan Smith locked in with 11 apiece. In doubles, USC’s winningest pair is currently the talented freshman duo of Brandon Holt and Riley Smith with 11 wins together to date.
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.
2017 TROJANS AT A GLANCE
The No. 10 Trojans are on the cusp of the 2017 spring season, where they will be 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 are a reflection of that balance, as USC has a freshman (Brandon Holt), sophomore (Logan Smith), junior (Thibault Forget) and senior (Nick Crystal) nationally ranked to open 2017.
FIRST RANKINGS REPORT
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. 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. •