Gomez captures singles title in Battle in the Bay Classic
A perfect 8-0 singles record this season is a big feat, but the only bigger feat for USC sophomore Emilio Gomez was hoisting the singles trophy at the Battle in the Bay Classic this weekend.
Gomez, ranked No. 66 in International Tennis Association rankings and seeded No. 2 in the tournament, defeated Pepperdineâs Hugh Clarke 6-4, 6-3 in the Battle in the Bay Classic finals in San Francisco to take home the singles title. With the victory over Clarke, Gomez remains undefeated in singles play and becomes the second consecutive USC player to win the singles title in the Battle in the Bay Classic.
Gomezâs victories over Stanfordâs Robert Stineman, Pacificâs Alex Golding, San Diegoâs Thibaut Visy and Boise Stateâs Andy Bettles in the four-day competition set up the finals matchup against Clarke.
Through five matches in San Francisco, Gomez lost just one set. Visy, who defeated USC freshman Eric Johnson in the second round, captured the first set against Gomez in the quarterfinals 6-1. Gomez bounced back by winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-1 to take the match before his 6-2, 6-3 win over Bettles in the semifinals.
Gomez and freshman Eric Johnson also paired up in the 16-team doubles bracket, advancing to the semifinals before losing 7-9 to a Pepperdine team that included Clarke and sophomore David Sofaer.
âWe played pretty well altogether,â Johnson said. âThere wasnât anything strategically I would have done differently. We played a good match.â
Clarke and Sofaer eventually garnered the doubles title over Stanfordâs Stineman and Walker Kehrer with an 8-5 win.
In other singles draw play, freshman Jonny Wang barely missed a trip to the semifinals, falling to Stanfordâs Daniel Ho in a narrow 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-7 (2) loss on Saturday. Before this quarterfinal matchup, Wang had upended both Saint Maryâs Gavin Leon and Boise Stateâs Garrett Patton in straight sets.
âI definitely could work on getting balls deeper and being more aggressive, but I think I was pretty consistent throughout the matches,â Wang said.
Johnson also represented USC in the singles draw, advancing past the first round by taking advantage of Saint Maryâs Saad Benkiraneâs weaker forehand in a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 comeback on Thursday.
San Diegoâs Visy ended Johnsonâs run with a 6-1, 6-1 victory in the second round Friday.
â[Visy] had very good defense,â Johnson said. âMy offense was doing well. I just wasnât finishing points very well, and thatâs not going to work.â
Had Johnson advanced, he would have faced Gomez in the quarterfinals.
After traveling over the country for four different fall tournaments, the USCâs menâs tennis team will finally get some action closer to home in the ITA Southwest Regional Championships in Pepperdine, Calif. from Thursday through next Monday.