Trojans challenged on the road in Tulsa

first_imgThe quest for a national singles title fell short for three members of the No. 1 USC men’s tennis team at the International Tennis Association Men’s All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.The last stand · No. 16 senior Daniel Nguyen, an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention last season, advanced to the semifinals in his final appearance at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., over the weekend. – Mannat Saini | Daily TrojanThough No. 15 sophomore Ray Sarmiento and freshman Yannick Hanfmann struggled in the weeklong competition, No. 16 senior Daniel Nguyen battled to the semifinals of the singles main draw before losing 6-4, 6-2 to freshman Mitchell Frank of Virginia on Saturday.Playing four matches in three days, Nguyen had only lost a single set before his matchup against Frank, ranked No. 1 in the ITA Newcomers/Freshmen Rankings. The freshman also lost a single set before the semifinals, besting Ohio State’s No. 5 Chase Buchanan and Illinois’ No. 7 Dennis Nevolo.Amid the windy conditions in Tulsa, Nguyen deciphered Frank’s defensive playing style after pulling ahead to take a 4-2 lead in the first set. Nguyen, however, slipped as Frank sent deeper balls into his territory to take him out of position.The Virginia freshman would not look back, taking the first set and finishing the second with an ace to book a trip to the finals.“Wind was definitely a factor, and [Frank’s] ability just to be really consistent wore me down physically,” Nguyen said. “He doesn’t miss a ball.”Before the semifinals, Nguyen defeated Louisiana State’s No. 39 Neal Skupski, Washington’s No. 22 Kyle McMorrow, Vanderbilt’s No. 102 senior Charlie Jones and Texas A&M’s No. 42 Alexis Klegou.“I think the key for Daniel was that he was really comfortable with himself out there,” USC coach Peter Smith said. “He’s a very good tennis player, and he really let that come out.”Despite missing the finals by one match in his final year at the tournament, Nguyen leaves with an automatic berth in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing, N.Y., next month.Though Nguyen found early tournament success, Sarmiento could not overcome a tough first-round matchup against No. 4 Henrique Cunha of Duke, losing 6-2, 6-2. His early loss sent him to the consolation bracket, where he defeated Georgia Tech’s No. 34 Juan Spir 7-6 (5), 6-2 and BYU’s No. 53 Patrick Kawka 6-4, 6-0 to reach the consolation quarterfinals.Awaiting him was Pepperdine’s No. 10 junior Sebastian Fanselow, who took down Sarmiento 6-3, 6-2 to end his tournament run.“[Ray] really had some good moments, but it wasn’t consistent enough,” Smith said.Earlier in the week, Hanfmann participated in the qualifying singles draw, where he needed three consecutive victories to join his teammates in the main draw.Hanfmann could only capture a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Florida State’s Cristian Gonzalez-Mendez before losing 3-6, 3-6 to Florida’s No. 58 Bob van Overbeek.Next week, three other members of the team will have a shot at reeling in a singles title. No. 66 senior Emilio Gomez and freshmen Eric Johnson and Jonny Wang will travel to San Francisco from Thursday through Sunday to participate in the Battle in the Bay Classic.last_img

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