CLAREMONT, September 14, 2018 (Press Release)
The top two players for USC both posted straight-set wins over seeded players on Thursday during the second round of the Claremont Club Pro Classic, a $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures event.
Trojan No. 1 Brandon Holt of Rolling Hills, Calif., took out No. 5 seed Dominik Kellovsky of the Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-3 while USC’s No. 2 player Daniel Cukierman of Israel dominated former University of Georgia star Paul Oosterbaan, the No. 4 seed, 6-3, 6-0.
Now Holt and Cukierman set their sights on one another as they will meet in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Cukierman didn’t realize it until he got on the court and started warming up that he had previously played the 6-foot-7 Kalamazoo resident Oosterbaan last fall at the National Indoors in doubles.
Leading 4-3 in the first set of a tight match, Cukierman broke Oosterbaan’s serve to go up 5-3 and then held to take the first set. “He has a big serve and is a tall guy,” Cukierman said. “At 4-3 got the big break and in the second set I just felt like I had all the momentum.”
USC men’s tennis coach Peter Smith will have a Trojan in the semifinals on Saturday.
“It’s always hard to play a teammate and we’re such good friends off the courts,” Cukierman said of Holt, adding that he will warm up with his teammate before the match. “I’m sure once we get out there it will be different but we will have a great competition and it will be fun.”
Cukierman was asked if Smith should use this as challenge match and that the winner should be considered the No. 1 USC player. “I didn’t really think about that until you just brought it up,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter and Coach Smith will have to make the decision. We are teammates and if I play No. 1 or he plays No 1, it won’t make a difference as long as it is best for the team.”
A day after shocking the tournament’s top-seeded player, 15-year-old wild-card entry Zach Svajda of Pacific Beach came up short against UC Santa Barbara’s top player Nicolas Moreno as the senior qualifier beat the high school sophomore in the first set 6-0, dropped the second 6-2 before posting a third-set 6-2 score for the win.
In another match involving two of Southern California’s top players, No. 2 seeded Henry Craig of Murrieta got past UCLA sophomore and qualifier Keegan Smith, 7-6 (6), 6-2.
In the doubles final to be played Friday not before 12:30 p.m., it will be an All-American final as Oosterbaan and Sam Shropshire will take on Robert Kelly and Korey Lovett.
Thursday Round of 16 Singles Scores
Martin Redlicki (US)  def. Alexander Cozbinov (MDA) [q], 6-3, 6-2
Daniel Cukierman (ISR) def. Paul Oosterbaan (US) , 6-3, 6-0
Henry Craig (US)  def. Keegan Smith (US) [q], 7-6 (6), 6-2
Brandon Holt (US) def. Dominik Kellovsky (CZE) , 6-1, 6-3
Igor Gimenez (BRA) def. Artur Dubinski (BLR) [q], 6-3, 6-3
Matej Vocel (CZE)  def. Adrian Oetzbach (GER) [q], 6-0, 6-1
Nicolas Moreno (US) [q] def. Zach Svajda (US) [wc], 6-0, 2-6, 6-2
Sam Shropshire (US) def. Sumit Sarkar (US) , 7-6 (4), 6-1