May 12, 2007
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A new NCAA men's team tennis champion will be crowned in 2007 after the No. 12-ranked USC Trojans ended the No. 20-ranked Pepperdine Waves season, 4-0, in the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament Saturday afternoon at Marks Stadium.
The match got off to an ominous start when Pepperdine's (23-8) top double's team was broke on its opening serve.
"We didn't play doubles particularly well," commented head coach Adam Steinberg. "That set a bad tone for the rest of the day."
USC (22-2) picked up the double's point with victories at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. Pepperdine had its serve broken within the first four points on all three courts and had managed to break USC's serve on both courts one and three only to give the point right back leading to its losses.
"Between doubles and singles I told the guys we need to hold serve early," said Steinberg. "But we got broken early and got down on the other team's home court. That made [USC] feel comfortable and they stayed on top. The score wasn't indicative of the match though. I thought we were in there, it felt more like a 4-3 match to me."
The lone Pepperdine senior Richard Johnson had his career end in disappointing fashion, falling 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 4 position which gave the Trojans a 2-0 lead in the contest.
With every point growing in importance for Pepperdine, things went from good to bad on court six as Mahmoud Kamel was up a break and serving for the first set at 5-4 only to lose the next three points and drop the second set 6-2 as USC went up 3-0.
Pepperdine claimed first-set victories at No. 2, 3 and 5 to stay in the match. But Jamil Al-Agba broke Andre Begemann at 5-4 to keep USC in control of the match. Al-Agba again broke Begemann at 5-4 after Begemann had fought off a pair of match-point tries to clinch the victory.
The loss ends Pepperdine's season, while USC will go on to face Notre Dame in the round of sixteen in Athens, Geo.
DOUBLES (Order of Finish: 2, 3)
(1) #43 Robert Farah-Kaes Van't Hof (USC) vs. Omar Altmann-Richard Johnson (PEP) DNF
(2) Dejan Cvetkovic-Gary Sacks (USC) def. Andre Begemann-Mahmoud Kamel (PEP), 8-4
(3) Jamil Al-Agba-Garrett Snyder (USC) def. Bassam Beidas-James Lemke (PEP), 8-5
SINGLES (Order of Finish: 4, 6, 1)
(1) #36 Jamil Al-Agba (USC) def. Andre Begemann (PEP), 6-4, 6-4
(2) #52 Dejan Cvetkovic (USC) vs. Bassam Beidas (PEP) DNF
(3) #63 Kaes Van't Hof (USC) vs. James Lemke (PEP) DNF
(4) Robert Farah (USC) def. Richard Johnson (PEP), 6-2, 6-2
(5) Gary Sacks (USC) vs. Omar Altmann (PEP) DNF
(6) Jason McNaughton (USC) def. Mahmoud Kamel (PEP), 7-5, 6-2