It wasn’t flawless, but a win is a win and the USC men’s tennis team will take it.
No. 6 USC (11-2) hosted the No. 3 Texas Longhorns Friday in a match that certainly had its ups and downs. Doubles play was particularly difficult as the Trojans went 1-2, losing at No. 1 and No. 2.
Freshman Ray Sarmiento, playing with junior captain Steve Johnson, fell to Texas’ Ed Corrie and Jean Anderson 5-8, and Sarmiento had to retire early due to wrist injury from his singles match against Daniel Whitehead after being down 5-7, 0-2.
Junior Daniel Nguyen and freshman Emilio Gomez were the two Trojans to manage a doubles victory, squeezing out an 8-6 win over Whitehead and Ben Chen.
“It was a tough doubles point. A few guys were sick and we were unsure of ourselves,” Nguyen said. “We started a little slow and were a little tentative. Our rhythm was off and we weren’t aggressive.”
Nguyen, who had been battling the flu all week, was the first USC player off the courts in singles play, after a 6-2, 6-2 statement win at the No. 3 spot.
“I think we wanted it more than them and started playing smarter,” he said.
The Longhorns’ momentum from doubles play did not transfer to their singles matches as USC edged out Texas 5-1 in singles play to land a 5-2 win overall.
Coming off of his wildcard play at the Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Johnson beat Corrie 6-2, 6-3, to keep his No. 1 ranking.
Senior captain Jaak Poldma continued his strong play as well, beating Kellen Damico 7-5, 6-2.
Gomez and freshman Michael Grant rounded out the Trojans’ victories with 6-3, 6-2 and 7-5, 6-1 wins against Chen and David Holiner, respectively.