LOS ANGELES, Ca. — This past weekend USC men’s tennis hosted the Southern California Intercollegiates. Despite having just two players compete in the tournament due to injuries, the Trojans still came away victorious.
Trojan junior, Ryder Jackson, won the singles tournament. Jackson dropped one set in his championship run, which was his first title of the season. After cruising through the first two rounds, Jackson faced his toughest match in the quaterfinal against UCLA’s Stefan Leustian. After losing the first set, he mounted a comeback winning 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Jackson, who lost in the finals of this tournament in 2019, beat UC Santa Barbara’s Phillip Jordan 6-3, 6-2 to win the tournament.
Head coach Brett Masi was impressed with Jackson’s title run. Jackson has dealt with injuries in his USC career, and Masi said he has been working extremely hard to get back into tennis shape. “[Jackson] hasn’t had the most confidence this fall...it was nice to see that hard work pay off,” Masi said. “I saw a kid out there on the court that reminded me of his freshman year with a passion, desire and competitiveness that I love to see again.”
Other than Jackson, grad student Paul Barretto competed in the singles tournament. Barretto lost in the first round to SMU’s Liam Krall, 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4.
Barretto and Jackson teamed up in doubles and fell in the round of 16 to Portland’s Eleftherios Neos and Sema Pankin 8-6. It was the third time the two Trojans had played doubles this fall season, previously making it to the semifinals of the ITA Southwest Regional Championship.
The fall season has been filled with success for the Trojans. In every tournament besides the All-Americans, the team has brought back trophies. Junior Stefan Dostanic has won four titles alone this fall: two singles and two doubles titles. Juniors Bradley Frye and Samuel Rubell partnered with Dostanic for those doubles titles. Besides the titles and finals appearances, the team made deep runs at the ITA All-American tournament where Dostanic and Frye teamed up to win three matches in their semifinal run.
“We’ve had a very successful fall,” Masi said. “Overall it is just good to see the guys producing, and it will pay off for them as long as we can stay healthy.”
Injuries have been a problem the entire fall season for the team. “Guys are still dealing with nagging injuries but we are going to try to get at least half of the guys out there to compete this weekend in both events,” Masi said. For him, if the team can field five out of nine of the players, he sees it as a win.
This weekend, the team will split up at two events, the ITA National Fall Championships and the Jack Kramer Classic. These two tournaments will wrap up the fall season for the Trojans. Wins this weekend would put their fall title count at six or more.