Former USC Star Daniel Nguyen Upends Ryan Thacher At 17Th Annual Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Usta Pro Classic
From the juniors to college and now to the pros, former USC star and four-time NCAA team champion Daniel Nguyen still calls four-year Stanford standout Ryan Thacher a rival.
The two first-year professionals – who each won four qualifying matches Friday through Monday – both enjoyed a day off of singles on Tuesday but drew each other in a first-round match on Wednesday at the 17th annual Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Pro Classic, a $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s event being played this week at the Claremont Club.
Surviving an early break in the first set, Nguyen came back to post a solid 6-4, 6-1 win over Thacher. It was a revenge win for Nguyen, who lost a tough first-round three-setter to Thacher after both qualified at the Godfrey, Ill., Futures tournament in late July.
“I could never beat him in the juniors but I think I got him twice in college,” Nguyen said of his fellow Southern Californian Thacher. “I was just able to stay mentally composed today. I got down an early break but I kept telling myself to keep playing aggressive and to dictate the points.”
This is only Nguyen’s fourth professional tournament since helping guide the Trojans to a fourth NCAA team title back in May. “I took a month off after the NCAAs, didn’t pick up a racket for four weeks,” Nguyen said. “I traveled to Asia with a friend and kind of just got away. That’s when it started to sink it what we had accomplished during my four years at SC.”
Nguyen, who advanced to the semifinals at the Decatur Futures event two years ago, is well aware that the Claremont event has been won the past two years by former Trojans Gary Sacks (2010) and Steve Johnson (2011). “I guess I have to keep the USC tradition going,” he said.
Another pair of junior rivals also met up in the first round as former Hawaii juniors Dennis Lajola and Thomas Shubert squared off with the No. 3-seeded Lajola taking out the qualifier Shubert in a competitive match, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.
“We hadn’t played since the 12s in Hawaii and now we’re both pros,” Shubert, who played his college tennis at BYU, said after the match.
In all, there were eight players with Pac-12 ties who competed in the 10 singles matches on Wednesday, including former USC standout Prakash Amritraj, who beat former Illinois player Dennis Nevolo, 6-3, 6-4, while his father Vijay looked on.
In an all-UCLA match between two qualifiers, Mohamed Abid edged Marcos Giron, 7-6 (5), 7-5, to advance.
Wednesday’s First-Round Singles Results
- WC: Wild card; Q: Qualifier
- Dennis Lajola, U.S. (4), def. Thomas Shubert, U.S. (q), 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
- Daniel Nguyen, U.S. (q), def. Ryan Thacher, U.S. (q), 6-4, 6-1
- Mohamed Abid, Tunisia (q), def. Marcos Giron, U.S. (q), 7-6 (5), 7-5
- Prakash Amritraj, India, def. Dennis Nevolo, U.S., 6-3, 6-4
- Jeff Dadamo, U.S. (5), def. Alex Llompart, Puerto Rico, 6-3, 6-3
- Ryan Rowe, U.S., def. T.J. Pura, U.S. (q), 7-6 (5), 6-3
- Dennis Novikov, U.S. (wc), def. Marton Bots, Hungary (q), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
- Daniel Kosakowski, U.S. (2), def. Collin Altamirano, U.S. (q), 6-2, 6-2
- Finn Tearney, New Zealand (wc), def. Alexander Sarkissian, U.S. (wc), 1-6, 7-6 (3), 4-1, ret.
- Alex Bogdanovic, Great Britain (1), def. Arthur Karagezian, U.S., 6-2, 6-1
Wednesday’s Second-Round Doubles Results
- Daniel Nguyen, U.S.-Ryan Rowe, U.S. (3), def. Mohamed Abid, Tunisia-Dennis Novikov, U.S., 7-6 (6), 6-2
- Devin Britton, U.S.-Reid Carleton, U.S. (1), def. Dennis Lajola, U.S.-Leo Rosenberg, U.S., 7-5, 6-2
- Jeff Dadamo, U.S.-Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (2), def. Jason Jung, U.S.-Mark Verryth, Australia, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 10-8
- Nicholas John Andrews, U.S.-Dennis Nevolo, U.S., def. Denny Fafek, U.S.-Xavier Smith, U.S. (4), 6-3, 7-6 (5)