ITA doubles final flaunts an all-Trojan affair

Sophomores Yannick Hanfmann and Eric Johnson notched their second doubles title together, claiming the ITA Southwest Regional Doubles Championship on Tuesday.

Design by Christina Ellis and Razan Al Marzouqi

Hanfmann and Johnson defeated fellow Trojans Max de Vroome and Roberto Quiroz 8-6 at Marks Stadium to add a doubles crown next to their Battle of the Bay title from nine days prior.

After Hanfmann and Johnson pulled ahead 7-4, freshman de Vroome and sophomore Quiroz broke Hanfmann and rallied back to make it 7-6.

“The match overall was pretty up-and-down, so there were a lot of breaks,” Hanfmann said. “After I got broken at 7-5, we still didn’t really back down.”

Johnson then served for the match, and the two were able to finish off their top-seeded Trojan teammates and keep their doubles record together perfect this year.

“We know their games. We know that Roberto and Max have good serves,” Hanfmann said. “Our gameplan was to make them play at the net and serve at their bodies because they’re both tall.”

The two Trojan pairs took the finals match back to USC after five rounds of doubles play at UC Irvine, the official site of the tournament.

“It was nice not having to drive, but it was a much more different atmosphere than the rest of the week,” Johnson said.

After a first-round bye, Hanfmann and Johnson defeated pairs from San Diego State and UC Santa Barbara before upsetting UCLA’s No. 2 seeds Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov 8-4 in the quarterfinals.

Hanfmann and Johnson then defeated No. 7 seeds Nicholas Bjerke and Sebastian Bustamante from Loyola Marymount 8-5 to set up the title match against de Vroome and Quiroz back at Marks Stadium.

“We actually don’t have much experience against them, but we know both of their games individually, and we’ve seen them play throughout the week, so we had a set gameplan going in,” Johnson said.

In singles play at the ITA Regionals, Johnson and Quiroz both advanced to the semifinals Monday, but fell to their respective opponents.

Johnson, who had upset the No. 1 seed Finn Tearney from Pepperdine in straight sets in the Round of 16, lost 4-6, 4-6 to Giron, while Quiroz fell 7-5, 3-6, 1-6 to UCLA’s Dennis Mkrtchian.

USC sophomore Jonny Wang also saw his singles tournament run end at the hands of Mkrtchian in the quarterfinals. Wang had upset the No. 2 seed  Novikov in the second round of the tournament.

Hanfmann and Johnson, who are currently unranked as a doubles pair in the preseason ITA rankings, hope to establish themselves as a legitimate threat in the doubles field.

“We play really well together, and we have some really good chemistry,” Johnson said. “We just need to keep up our performance.”

Hanfmann, who also holds a No. 25 rank in singles, agreed that the chemistry they’re building now will serve them well going into the regular season.

“It’s nice to have these tournament wins with Eric. It will help him and it will help me. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m feeling pretty comfortable with him,” Hanfmann said.

USC, which claimed its fourth consecutive team championship last year, will continue its preseason tournament schedule with the Clay Court Invitational in Orlando, Fla. from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.