USC tennis continues success at ITA Southwest Regional

The Trojan tennis programs combined for six semifinal spots and a trophy.

A photo of USC tennis player Snow Han

MALIBU -- USC’s men’s and women’s tennis teams competed in the ITA Southwest Regional Championships this past weekend. Both teams had players make deep runs into the tournament, with the men’s team bringing home a trophy.

Juniors Stefan Dostanic and Samuel Rubell won the ITA Southwest Regional doubles title in their first tournament playing together. The two had a close match in the round of 16, beating San Diego duo Marvin Schaber and David Norfeldt 8-7 (2). In the semifinal, they faced off against teammates, grad transfer Paul Barretto and junior Ryder Jackson.

Barretto and Jackson beat the tournament’s top seed, No. 53 Emmanuel Coste and Riccardo Roberto from UC Irvine, 8-2. In the quarterfinal, the duo beat fifth seeded Drew Baird and Alexander Hoogmartens of UCLA 8-2. Head coach Brett Masi said he noticed Barretto and Jackson had great chemistry when the two played together at the Southern Intercollegiate Championship in Georgia last month. He added that “[Barretto] makes everything fun and enjoyable,” and “it keeps [Jackson] loose on the court.”

In the semifinal, Dostanic and Rubell beat Barretto and Jackson 6-1, 6-2.

On the other side of the doubles draw, Bradley Frye and Peter Makk also made it to the semifinals. Their closest match was in the quarterfinal, beating UC Santa Barbara’s Kai Brady and Phillip Jordan 8-7 (5). The two were down 2-6, 0-2 in the semifinal when Makk hurt his back and was forced to retire due to injury.

Dostanic and Rubell beat UCLA’s Giacomo Revelli and Patrick Zahraj 6-3, 6-4, in the final. It was Dostanic’s third title of the fall season.

In singles, the Trojans had seven players advance to the second round, with Dostanic and Rubell making it to the semifinal. After easing through the tournament without dropping a set, Dostanic was up 6-1, 1-4, when he retired in his semifinal match due to an ankle injury.

Rubell dropped the semifinal 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, to Pietro Fellin from Pepperdine. His biggest win came over No. 32 Jonas Eriksson Zivertz from Arizona — the tournament’s top seed — 6-4, 6-4, in the round of 16. Masi said Rubell was the bright spot of the tournament.

“What he has been doing to achieve this and his improvement over three weeks is outstanding,” Masi said.

For the women, the Trojans were led by redshirt freshman Snow Han, who made it to the singles semifinal and the doubles quarterfinal. In her singles run, Han had two wins over ranked opponents, first beating Pepperdine’s No. 44 Taisiya Pachkaleva 7-5, 6-2, in the round of 16, then beating San Diego State’s No. 9 Bunyawi Thamchaiwat 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, in the quarterfinal.

Han won five rounds before falling in the semifinal to No. 53 Lisa Zaar of Pepperdine 6-1, 4-6, 1-6.

“I feel a lot more confident due to the matches I won,” Han said. “It shows I have the ability to compete with high-ranked players.”

The result comes a week after Han was named the co-champion at the Women of Troy Invitational.

Other than Han, the Trojans’ deepest singles run was No. 18 Salma Ewing, who made it to the quarterfinals. After a first-round bye, Ewing swept her first three rounds, not dropping a set. In the quarterfinals, she faced San Diego’s No. 30 Solymar Colling and lost 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Her quarterfinal run comes two weeks after she made it to the quarterfinals of the ITA All-American Championships.

In doubles, Ewing and Han teamed up to win three matches before falling in the quarterfinal. The two lost to Pepperdine pair Victoria Flores and Zaar 6-4. It was the first time the two have played together since they won all of their matches in their doubles flight at the Fall Ranked Spotlight in late September. Han attributes their success to their mental strength. She said the two have an innate ability  to be mentally tough and patient on the court, even in tight matches.

Eryn Cayetano and Grace Piper also made it to the doubles quarterfinals after a 6-1 victory over UCLA’s Taylor Johnson and Kimmi Hance. They lost 7-5 to Loyola Marymount’s Wiktoria Rutkowska and Isabella Tcherkes-Zade.

Next for the women is the ITA Fall Championships, which begin Nov. 4. The men host the Southern California Intercollegiates starting Thursday.