The No. 9 men’s tennis team traded a pair of wins and a loss at the 2017 ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend.
On Friday, the Trojans were edged out 4-3 by No. 7 crosstown rival UCLA. The Trojans fought hard, but wound up just short of moving past the round of 16 and instead rounded out the weekend in consolation play.
No. 35 pair senior Nick Crystal and sophomore Laurens Verboven started the evening off with a 6-3 win to open doubles play over the Bruins pair of Gage Brymer and Maxime Cressy. UCLA responded quickly with 6-4 win against senior Rob Bellamy and sophomore Jack Jaede. No. 32 freshman tandem Brandon Holt and Riley Smith would fight off a 1-4 deficit and ultimately win 7-5. The comeback win sealed the deal for the Trojans in doubles play.
In singles action, UCLA struck first and tied the matchup at 1-1 when No. 19 Brymer won 6-1, 6-3 against No. 36 sophomore Logan Smith. A 2-1 lead followed when No. 112 Cressy topped No. 97 Bellamy 6-3, 6-2. The Trojans fired back as Crystal beat Zhu via 6-3, 7-5 (5) to tie the game at 2. The Bruins’ Austin Rapp would take a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 comeback over junior Thibault Forget to go up by one. In that same vein No. 119 Jaede would power back to beat Logan Staggs 4-5, 7-5, 6-2 and set up the Trojans for a tiebreaker against the Bruins on court one.
No. 13 freshman Holt took on No. 73 Redlicki in a winner-take-all matchup. Holt moved first by winning the first set, but it was all UCLA from there as Redlicki grabbed the next two sets to win 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4 and secure a 4-3 win for the Bruins, who would lose the remaining games of the tournament.
The Trojans started their Saturday off against another Pac-12 opponent in No. 16 Utah State, which they swept 5-0 in consolation play. For the 11th straight match this season the Trojans started the day with doubles points and claimed the early advantage. Holt and Smith snagged a 6-3 win over Utah State’s Serrano and Wehnelt, while Crystal and Verboven beat Maier and Swindells by the same score to put the Trojans on the board first.
After quick doubles points, USC took the game in straight set victories. Holt beat Jack Swindells 6-1, 6-2 to make it a 2-0 Trojans lead in the first leg of singles action. Logan Smith made it 3-0 against Kai Wehnelt with a 6-3, 6-2 win. Holt’s doubles partner Riley Smith tallied a 6-4, 6-3 win over Jonas Maier to secure victory for the Trojans. Moments later Jack Jaede closed out a 7-6, 6-1 victory over Samuel Serrano to make it 5-0 USC.
USC wrapped up its consolation play against Baylor where they would earn their 10th win of the new year and finish their trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on a high note.
A 4-2 victory over the Baylor Bears kicked off with USC in unfamiliar territory. After earning 11 straight doubles matches points the Trojans saw their top duo of freshmen Brandon Holt and Riley Smith lose 6-0. All was not lost as Crystal and Verboven won 7-6 before Robert Bellamy and Jack Jaede finished 6-2 to put the Trojans up first.
No. 119 Jack Jaede kicked off singles actions with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Will Little to make it 2-0 Trojans. Baylor responded with a 6-2, 7-5 victory by way of Juan Benitez over Brandon Holt. Riley Smith would avenge his partner’s loss with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Constantin Frantzen to put the Trojans up 3-1. The Bears tried to close the gap with a win over Logan Smith by way of 6-2, 6-3 by No. 57 Max Tchoutakian. Thibault Forget capped off the Trojans weekend with a 6-4, 6-3 clincher over Jimmy Bendeck to win the game 4-2.
As for the rest of the teams competing in the tournament, host and No. 1 ranked Virginia defeated No. 3 Ohio State to win the 2017 ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
The Trojans will return home to Marks stadium to take on Cal Poly on Friday, February 23 at 2 p.m. before turning their attention to Stanford at 3 p.m. in nonconference play.