Johnson wins NCAA singles championship
After leading the USC menâs tennis team to an NCAA title for the third year in a row, junior Steve Johnson claimed his own title as the 2011 NCAA singles champion.
Johnson defeated Tennesseeâs Rhyne Williams on Monday at Stanfordâs Taube Stadium, his 35th consecutive singles win.
The first set was close, with Williams taking the lead, pulling away during the first game after a strong start.
By the second set, Johnson took charge and dominated the final two sets, leaving no doubt who the best player on the court was.
âWhen I got off that game to go up 2-0 in the third, I was going to do anything it took to hold on,â Johnson said. âI was fortunate enough to hold and hold on the sunny side [of the court] which has been tough all day. Then I was fortunate enough to get that break at 4-1.â
Williams had defeated Johnson 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 during the ITA National Indoor Championship in November.
The final match marked Johnsonâs fourth title match this month.
âI still [have] no words to describe this week and the team and now this individual [title],â Johnson said. âIt hasnât sunk in yet and I donât think itâll sink in for a while.â
The last Trojan to win the NCAA singles title was Cecil Mamiit in 1996. Johnson became the 12th Trojan to win the title.
âThat court was good to us this week,â said USC coach Peter Smith. âItâs indescribable.â
Johnson became USCâs first to win both the team and singles championships in the same year since Joaquin Loyo-Mayo in 1969, and the first player to do so since 2004.