Men’s tennis had a strong showing in the ITA Southwest Regional Championships, the last of five tournaments on the road this season.
USC picked up momentum with wins in both singles and doubles play. In the round of 128 of singles play, three Trojans secured three victories followed by five victories in the round of 64, four victories in the round of 32 and three victories in the round of 16. Following the round of 16, junior Samuel Rubell beat Arizona sophomore Herman Hoeyeraal 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals where he lost a competitive match to Pepperdine sophomore Pietro Fellin 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-3. Junior Stefan Dostanic also got a quarterfinals victory as he beat freshman Alexander Hoogmartens of UCLA 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals. Dostanic, however, had to retire from the match at 6-1, 1-4 because of an ankle injury. Dostanic has been ruled out for USC’s next tournament.
“We’re going to hopefully know a little bit more come the weekend,” said Head Coach Brett Masi in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “The ankle’s a little tender but the swelling wasn’t too bad.”
The Trojans also had a very strong showing in doubles play as they opened with a win in the round of 64 and went on to secure three wins in the round of 32 and three more wins in the round of 16.
In the quarterfinals, USC won all three of its matches as graduate student Paul Barretto and junior Ryder Jackson beat junior Drew Baird and Alexander Hoogmartens of UCLA 8-2, Dostanic and Rubell beat junior Victor Castro and senior Joe Tyler of San Diego State 8-6, and senior Bradley Frye and freshman Peter Makk defeated sophomore Kai Brady and redshirt sophomore Phillip Jordan of UCSB 8-7 (5).
In the semifinals, two pairs of Trojans competed against each other as Dostanic and Rubell took down Barretto and Jackson 6-1, 6-2.
“When our guys play against each other [the coaches] back off and let them go and … do their thing and let the best man win,” Masi said.
In the doubles championship, USC’s Dostanic and Rubell took down Revelli and Zahraj 6-3, 6-4. Frye and Makk, the last USC duo in the semifinals, retired their match because of a back injury to Makk as UCLA freshman Giacomo Revelli and senior Patrick Zahraj won 6-2, 2-0.
Makk is in the middle of his first season at USC after his successful high school tennis career in Budapest, Hungary where his highest ITF Junior ranking was No. 22 and he competed in several European championships. Because of his back injury, he will most likely not be competing this weekend. However, the recovery process has been successful so far.
“He hurt his back pretty badly, but he’s starting to feel better as well and hopefully we are going to get him on the court here at the end of week,” Masi said.
USC will come into the tournament short-handed with injuries giving other players a chance to showcase their abilities.
“I definitely wish we had more guys being able to participate … we are a little banged up at the moment,” Masi said. “We have practiced a lot over the last month. To get these guys to compete week after week here for the last three weeks of the fall is super crucial.”
Barretto and Jackson will be the only two players in action this weekend. This season is Barretto’s first with the Trojans as a graduate transfer after three years at Cal 2017-2019 and the 2020 season in which Cal did not compete.
In the 2020-21 season, Jackson had an overall record of 6-2 in singles matches, 4-2 in singles dual matches, 2-8 in doubles matches and 1-7 record in doubles dual matches.
Next up for USC will be the Southern California Intercollegiates at David X. Marks Tennis Stadium with teams such as SMU, UC Santa Barbara, San Diego and UCLA competing.
“It’s always obviously fun to play on your courts and not have to travel … but nothing is going to make them excited like a duel match would,,” Masi said.
The tournament begins Friday Oct. 29 and continues until Sunday Oct. 31.