Robert Farah and Steve Johnson continued to rack up wins and accolades Sunday in La Jolla, Calif.
The No. 8 senior and sophomore duo participated in the 121st Pacific Coast Doubles Championships — the second-oldest tennis event in the United States — and took home a trophy bearing the names of tennis greats Arthur Ashe and John McEnroe, as well as current USC coaches Peter Smith and Eric Amend.
Following two impressive conference victories against California and Stanford on Friday and Saturday, Farah and Johnson played in the USTA-organized event, where anyone — not just collegiate players — can participate.
“It’s different for us to be in an open tournament and just playing doubles,” Smith said. “There are very few tournaments with just doubles.”
In addition to featuring athletes from all levels, the matches were decided in a best-of-three-set format as opposed to the typical eight-game pro set used in dual matches.
“The format is different, but that doesn’t make a difference,” Farah said. “[Johnson] and I are used to the format from all of our years of playing tennis.”
The players played in a more relaxed environment, outside of the tension-filled dual-match season.
“Every match has its own brand of pressure,” Smith said. “There is a lot of pressure as a USC player, but there is no pressure in the Pacific Coast tournament, just carefree play.”
After being postponed because of rain, the semifinals and finals were played out Sunday.
In the day’s first match, the second-seeded Trojan team overcame the comeback effort of top-seeded Brent Davis and Jeffrey G. Tarango to win 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
That victory set up a rematch against the Stanford’s No. 1 team of sophomores Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher.
On Friday, during the Stanford match at Marks Stadium, Farah and Johnson defeated Klahn and Thacher 8-3.
The USC duo repeated its earlier result with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Cardinal duo to join the ranks of Pacific Coast doubles champions.
“[This was a] big confidence boost for [Farah] and myself,” said Johnson of beating Klahn and Thacher twice during the weekend. “We have put in a lot of hard work, and we are playing really well together. We have been returning well and playing really smart.”