After a commanding 5-2 win over Stanford in Palo Alto last weekend, the Trojans will head to Westwood Tuesday to face UCLA at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
They will try and secure back-to-back road victories against Pac-12 teams in nonconference matches.
Both teams look as strong as expected this season, with UCLA posting a ranking of fourth in the nation, while USC sits at 13th and is likely to rise after the win over Stanford.
The Trojans faced some adversity to begin the match after losing the doubles point to go down 1-0 early. They then rattled off five consecutive singles match wins to clinch the match before a loss in a third set tiebreaker for the second loss of the day for USC.
Junior Nick Crystal tied the match-up with a straight sets win, and freshman Jake Devine continued his stellar debut season after finishing a third set win, 6-1. Sophomore Thibault Forget clinched the match with the Trojans’ fourth singles win in another three-setter, and senior Max de Vroome pulled off a big upset over Stanford’s Tom Fawcett, the fourth-ranked player in the country. The Trojans hope to ride this momentum into this rivalry match and a difficult schedule against many top teams across the country.
The Bruins provide a challenging matchup with their top three players: junior Mackenzie McDonald, sophomore Martin Redlicki and junior Gage Brymer are all top-50 players in the country. McDonald leads the team with experience as a junior ranked 19th in the nation who has not only succeeded at UCLA but has also won some lower-level professional matches. The Bruins also have senior Karue Sell, their fourth nationally ranked player at 94. The Bruins’ talented group has led them to a 9-2 record on the season, which brings an additional challenge in the rivalry match.
The Trojans counter with an array of solid players for the difficult challenge the Bruins will bring. De Vroome is coming off his biggest win of the year in the Stanford match and will be playing one of the top singles slots for the Trojans with a ranking of 65th nationally. Crystal is just behind de Vroome at 67th in the country, adding an early Pac-12 Player of the Week award this season to an already strong resume in his first two seasons at USC. Freshman Logan Smith boasts the Trojans’ top ranking with a mark of 56th nationally and will try to add yet another win to his young career. Rounding out the Trojans singles players are the freshman duo of DeVine and Jack Jaede as well as experienced sophomore Forget.
USC brings a young team to the table, but so far this season the inexperience has been far overshadowed by the talent of these players as well as the leadership of the veterans on the team. The Trojans hope to repeat the success they had against the Bruins last season, winning both matches on each team’s home court during the regular season and beating them in the Pac-12 tournament for a three-match sweep.
Correction: This post originally appeared with the title “Fourth-ranked men’s tennis set for battle at UCLA.” The men’s tennis team is ranked 13th. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.