No. 10 Men’s tennis gets home sweep

During USC’s matchup against Oregon, highly touted prospect Learner Tien made his collegiate debut for the Trojans, winning 6-2 in doubles as he was paired up with graduate student Bradley Frye. (Sarah Ruiz | Daily Trojan)

Although the sun may not have been out during the doubles matches Friday afternoon, it sure was shining on freshman Learner Tien as No. 10 men’s tennis (14-7, 4-2 Pac-12) cruised to a 4-0 victory over Oregon (12-11, 1-5 Pac-12).

In the first match of Tien’s college career, he won 6-2 in doubles alongside graduate student Bradley Frye, helping the Trojans secure the doubles point before heading into the singles matches.

“For a freshman coming out here, I feel like he really embraced it well,” said Head Coach Brett Masi in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “He had some nerves in doubles … And he held it together pretty strong. He’s like that, pretty cool and collected.”

From a spectator’s point of view, Tien looked just as comfortable as the rest of the players on the court. Although Tien is only a freshman, he came into USC as the No. 1 recruit in his class, according to He spent the latter part of January in Australia, where he won the 2023 Australian Open Junior Championships in doubles and came runner-up in singles. 

“He’s played [on] some big stages, so this isn’t anything he hasn’t played in front of before,” Masi said.

With such high-level experience, Tien will no doubt help elevate the team. His teammates were certainly happy to have him playing with them.

“It’s huge for us,” said senior Stefan Dostanic. “One of the best juniors in the world, just going to make our team a lot better, a lot stronger. He’s been hanging around so he’s been introduced to the culture, but he’s just a great guy off the court and a great player for us and a great addition to the team.”

The Trojans’ match against Oregon also marked the first time in more than a month that they played a home match, with the last coming against Oklahoma State in March. During that long road trip, USC played several ranked teams, including Big 12 heavyweights No. 1 Texas Christian and No. 3 Texas and Pac-12 opponents No. 18 Arizona and No. 24 Stanford.

“[We gained] a little bit of just toughness and resiliency,” Masi said. “All of those words to describe the adversity type of stuff that you have to face when you’re on the road. Whether you have a crowd that’s behind you, or just playing on faster-conditioned courts or the weather … You gotta be used to that stuff and you gotta grow from those things.”

Soon after Frye and Tien’s doubles win, junior Lodewijk Weststrate and senior Samuel Rubell locked up the doubles point for the Trojans in their 7-5 victory. In singles, Dostanic, Weststrate and sophomore Peter Makk dominated three consecutive matches to secure the additional three points the Trojans needed to win.

Less than 24 hours later, the Trojans hit the court again and beat the Washington Huskies (10-10, 1-5 Pac-12) 4-1, with Dostanic and sophomore Ryan Colby winning the first doubles match 6-2. USC then got a 6-3 win from sophomore Karl Lee and Rubell to take the doubles point. Keeping the momentum, Dostanic, Makk and Lee won their singles matches to lift the Trojans to victory.

Despite a few losses scattered throughout the regular season, the Trojans have remained in the top 15 since the start of the season. This fact will motivate USC to perform at an even higher level as the postseason looms.

“This week, we’re top 10 [in] the rankings … But I think no one is happy with that,” Makk said. “I think we can do much better … We just need to play good in the Pac-12s and then play good in the NCAAs. I think we’re a number one team.”

USC’s next match is Wednesday at 5 p.m. at home against UCLA.