Men’s tennis dominates in season opener
USC men’s tennis started the season strong, with the 9th-ranked Trojans sweeping Sacramento State and UC Irvine on a Sunday afternoon home doubleheader.
In the morning, USC first faced off against Sacramento State and won with a 7-0 victory. Then, in the afternoon, the Trojans beat the Anteaters 7-0.
The Trojans had an easy time winning the initial doubles rounds against UC Irvine. In the number 1 slot, senior Stefan Dostanic and graduate student Bradley Frye dominated Irvine senior Matthew Sah and sophomore Noah Zamora in a 6-1 match. The number 3 slot also won with a score of 6-2, with USC sophomores Ryan Colby and Karl Lee besting Irvine seniors Ali Amiri and Enrique Luque Rico.
These two matches concluded quickly, awarding the doubles point to USC before the number 2 doubles slot finished their match. Sophomores Peter Makk and Junior Lodewijk Weststrate led 5-3 against the Anteater before their match was suspended.
After having a solid showing in doubles, USC held their momentum to win all six of their singles matches.
On Center Court, Dostanic targeted Zamora’s backhand and defeated the Anteater with a score of 6-1 in the first set and 6-2 in the second set. Most other Trojans also easily prevailed over UC Irvine, but two players faced challenges.
In the number 6 slot, USC senior Samuel Rubell won the first set 6-2 against junior Thomas Smart. The score was tied 6-6 in the second set, and the match went to an intense seven-point tiebreak, where Rubell pulled through and won 7-6.
Colby also had some trouble in his singles game. After winning the first set 6-4, he lost the second set 6-1. Then, Colby was able to pull through and win the ten-point tiebreak 10-4 with a brilliant cross-court winner on match-point.
Despite these minor hurdles, Head Coach Brett Masi was still pleased with the Trojan’s season opener.
“They’ve been itching to get out there and just get some different competition other than themselves,” said Masi in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “I was just really happy with everything … not necessarily winning them all, but how we did it.”
Aside from Masi, transfer sophomore Karl Lee was also thrilled with his performance, his first since transferring from UCLA.
“The overall vibe here is just really amazing, I’m so grateful to be here,” Lee said regarding how he felt after winning his first match as a Trojan.
Lee defeated Amiri 6-0, 6-4 and closed the match with solid net play. Coming from crosstown-rival UCLA, Lee has already contributed to the Trojan’s early season victories.
“I came out of the gates pretty well, just feeling really solid … didn’t give him anything and then the second set, the wind started picking up,” Lee said. “I faded back a bit, and gave him some short balls … luckily, I was just disciplined enough to realize that and bring it back together.”
Next weekend, USC will likely face UCLA at the ITA Kickoff Weekend, hosted by USC on its home court.