CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Top-ranked USC exacted some revenge on Saturday with a 4-0 win against No. 10 Duke in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Indoor Championships. The Blue Devils had topped the Trojans last year in the first round of the tournament, but this year USC shut them out to secure the first trip to the ITA semifinals since 2003 for the Trojans.
“I thought our energy was a little low to start the match today,” USC head coach Peter Smith said. “Overall we played good doubles though. That was the best match they have played at No. 1 doubles all season, and No. 2 and No. 3 just fought the entire match. In singles, we have a sophomore and two freshmen at the four through six spots. They continue to fight hard each match, and I can see their confidence growing. We played better than yesterday, and hopefully we continue to build on that.”
The Trojans controlled doubles play to the tune of a solid upset from USC’s No. 28 duo of Yannick Hanfmann and Steve Johnson at the No. 1 spot against Duke’s 13th-ranked pair of Henrique Cunha and Fred Saba. That 8-3 win was followed up by an 8-5 win at the No. 3 position from Trojans’ Emilio Gomez and Roberto Quiroz, and USC was promptly up 1-0 in the match.
On court one in singles, USC’s top gun Steve Johnson was up against the last player to beat him in collegiate action, No. 2 Cunha, back in 2010. Johnson stole the first set from Cunha and was on serve 3-3 in the second when Johnson’s Trojan teammates wrapped things up early from the middle of the lineup.
No. 36 Yannick Hanfmann pinned up another powerful win at the No. 5 position with a 6-0, 6-2 win against Raphael Hemmeler to put USC ahead 2-0 in the match. Tighter matches were shaping up on the other courts, but 47th-ranked Emilio Gomez was able to dominate his No. 4 match with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Saba. No. 14 Daniel Nguyen followed Gomez’ lead next in creating some room against his opponent Torsten Wietoska at No. 3, and the senior soon wrapped up the match with a 6-4, 6-2 clincher for the 4-0 Trojan victory.