USC Men’s Tennis Fights On To 4-1 Comeback In Pac-12 Championship Match

Men’s Tennis | April 26, 2021

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. — The No. 13 USC men’s tennis team manufactured a total team win to claim its fifth Pac-12 Tournament championship. The Trojans saw the doubles point slip, but regrouped in singles and had the bottom of its lineup surge to straight-set wins in order to claim a 4-1 comeback over Arizona State tonight at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Calif. After hours of a rain delay, the teams took the courts under the lights, and the Trojans would shine though in singles to make it back-to-back conference titles. USC had won it all in 2019 before the 2020 season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. In this 2021 final, USC’s seniors prevailed in doubles, while a freshman, sophomore and juniors collected a string of singles points to propel USC to the crown and improve to 20-6 overall on the year. 

The Sun Devils would collect the doubles point, dealing out the first loss of 2021 to USC’s Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye with a 6-4 decision in McKennon/Ponwith’s favor on court two. USC fired right back as #14 Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith dispatched ASU’s Rakotomalala/Ruehl 6-4 at the top spot. That left the decider on court three, where Sun Devil pair Bolla/Lerby got out ahead of USC’s Ryder Jackson and Jake Sands for a 6-3 win that plugged a 1-0 lead into ASU’s column.

On his 21st birthday, Bradley Frye got a little early celebration when he erase his doubles loss with a resounding 6-2, 6-1 win on court four over Andrea Bolla to pull his Trojans even. Next, freshman Lodewijk Weststrate made his mark on USC’s push for a Pac-12 title when he ousted Max McKennon 6-4, 6-2 from the No. 5 slot to tug the Trojans ahead 2-1. On court six, Jake Sands would shrug off a 2-5 deficit in the first set and gave up just one game the rest of the way as he made it 3-1 USC on a powerful 7-5, 6-1 win over Christian Lerby. His heroics were capped off by a late break earned by Stefan Dostanic, whose 6-3, 7-5 win over Tim Ruehl locked in the clincher for the Trojans to make it 4-1 and send USC into celebration mode. 

Officially the Pac-12’s automatic qualifier, USC now awaits the selections for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, due to be revealed on May 3 at 3:30 p.m. PT.

2021 PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP

[3] USC 4, [5] Arizona State 1

April 26, 2021 | Barnes Tennis Center (San Diego, Calif.)

DOUBLES

(1) #14 Cukierman/R. Smith (USC) def. Rakotomalala/Ruehl (ASU) – 6-4

(2) McKennon/Ponwith (ASU) def. Dostanic/Frye (USC) – 6-4

(3) Bolla/Lerby (ASU) def. Jackson/Sands (USC) – 6-3

Order of finish: 2, 1, 3

ASU wins doubles point.

SINGLES

(1) #40 Daniel Cukierman (USC) vs. #95 Nathan Ponwith (ASU) – 6-4, 0-6, 1-3 susp.

(2) #36 Riley Smith (USC) vs. Makey Rakotomalala (ASU) – 4-6, 7-6 (6) susp.

(3) #82 Stefan Dostanic (USC) def. Tim Ruehl (ASU) – 6-3, 7-5*

(4) Bradley Frye (USC) def. Andrea Bolla (ASU) – 6-2, 6-1

(5) Lodewijk Weststrate (USC) def. Max McKennon (ASU) – 6-4, 6-2

(6) Jake Sands (USC) def. Christian Lerby (ASU) – 7-5, 6-1

Order of finish: 4, 5, 6, 3*