Johnson, Erani and Wu Reach ITA Regional Finals
Sophomore Alex Johnson (Thousand Oaks, CA), reached his first ITA singles final on Sunday by winning five weekend matches and defeating two higher seeds before falling to Cal Lutheran's Nick Ballou in the championship match. Johnson's teammates Robbie Erani (Jr. - New York, NY) and Ronald Wu (Sr. - Los Altos, CA) reached their second consecutive ITA doubles final, coming up short in a tough two-set match to second seeded Parker Larsen and Brian Pybas of UC Santa Cruz.
CMS proved to be the dominant team in the nine team field, with eight (8) Stags earning berths in the singles round of 16, and four (4) Stags in the singles quarterfinals. Led by Erani and Wu, CMS also had three doubles teams reach the quarters.
Johnson came into the tournament with the momentum of a 21-2 singles record in 2010, the best all-time singles season winning percentage in Stags Tennis history. As the 11th seeded player he hoped to improve on his quarterfinal showing from a year ago. Johnson's 6-3, 6-1 round of 16 win over 2nd seeded Andrew Giuffrida indicated that he would be a contender for the title. He got straight set wins over teammate Wu in the quarters and then 7th seeded Erich Koenig in the semis to reach the final.
Erani and Wu entered the tournament as the 3rd seeded team and advanced to the final with relative ease. Their 8-4 win over 7th seeds Meyer and Singh from Pomona-Pitzer in the quarters, and 8-5 win over 5th seeds Hammond and Wong from Redlands in the semis, set up a showdown with defending NCAA doubles champ Pybas and new partner Larsen in the final. Unable to preserve an early break in the first set, Erani and Wu narrowly lost a first set tie-break and couldn't rebound in the second set.
Senior Rusell Brockett (Austin, TX) joined Johnson, Wu and Erani in reaching the singles quarterfinals. Brockett partnered Brandon Wei (Jr. - Lake Oswego, OR) to reach the doubles quarters along with freshmen Neel Kotrappa (La Verne, CA) and Frank Liu (Upland, CA).