LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The No. 31 Harvard men's tennis team concluded its 2017-18 campaign this Sunday afternoon, falling 4-0 to the 10th-ranked USC Trojans in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson ended its impressive season with a 21-7 overall record, while the Trojans improved to 19-8 and advanced to the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Crimson and Trojans engaged in a competitive doubles battle, as wins at No. 1 and 2 put USC ahead 1-0 to begin the match. USC earned the first win of the day on court two when it's ninth-ranked doubles tandem Jack Jaede and Laurens Verboven handed Jean Thirouin and Robert Wrzesinski their first loss of the season at 6-2. The Trojans narrowly clinched the point with a 7-5 victory in the No. 1 spot as Kenny Tao and Logan Weber nearly pulled off an upset over 10th-ranked Brandon Holt and Riley Smith.
Harvard fought hard in singles play, but the Trojans continued to apply pressure as they took the next three consecutive matches. Verboven doubled USC's advantage with a straight sets 6-1, 6-1 win over Wrzesinski in the No. 4 spot. USC's Jaede then earned the host school a 3-0 lead as Thirouin suffered a 6-0, 6-2 setback on court three.
The Trojans clinched the match and a berth to the Sweet 16 when 74th-ranked Daniel Cukierman tightly surpassed Andy Zhou on court two with a 7-6 (6), 6-1 victory. Three three-set singles matches were left unfinished as Grant Solomon led 2-0 over the Trojan's No. 5 spot.
1. No. 10 Holt/R. Smith (USC) def. Tao/Weber (HU) – 7-6 (2)
2. No. 9 Jaede/Verboven (USC) def. Thirouin/Wrzesinski (HU) – 6-2
3. Cukierman/T. Smith (USC) vs. Solomon/Morrow (HU) – 6-6 (1-2), DNF
Order of Finish: 2, 1*
1. No. 11 Brandon Holt (USC) vs. Kenny Tao (HU) – 6-2, 3-6, 3-4, DNF
2. No. 74 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. Andy Zhou (HU) – 7-6 (6), 6-1*
3. Jack Jaede (USC) def. Jean Thirouin (HU) – 6-0, 6-2
4. Laurens Verboven (USC) def. Robert Wrzesinski (HU) - 6-1, 6-1
5. Thibault Forget (USC) vs. Grant Solomon (HU) – 4-6, 6-3, 0-2, DNF
6. Riley Smith (USC) vs. Christopher Morrow (HU)– 6-4, 4-6, 3-0, DNF
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 2*