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USC's Bastl Doubles Chances to Win NCAA Tennis Title

May 25, 1997|ARA NAJARIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fatigued and frustrated, USC's George Bastl found himself in trouble early in his NCAA men's individual semifinal tennis match against Mississippi's Sebastien DeChaunac on Saturday.

Bastl's serve was broken in the first game of the first set, on-court temperatures at the Los Angeles Tennis Center were in the low 90s, and Bastl had played three matches the day before.

Something had to give, and Bastl decided it would be his style of play.

"He has a similar type of game as I do, he likes to stay back, but he was more efficient than me," said Bastl, a junior from Switzerland. "So I changed my game and started coming to the net. It's not something I like to do, but after three or four games, I felt he was having trouble with it."

DeChaunac never really solved it and Bastl came back to win the semifinal match, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, and advance to today's 1 p.m. final against Luke Smith of Nevada Las Vegas.

Smith, a senior from Australia, advanced by beating Olivier Tauma of Virginia Commonwealth, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), in the other semifinal.

DeChaunac, a fiery and wiry sophomore from France, said the net approaches by Bastl were indeed the difference.

"He surprised me. It was a great move, changing his tactic. I was playing well and winning most of the rallies until then," DeChaunac said. "Maybe after the first set I lost a little concentration. I started thinking about maybe being in the finals and you shouldn't be thinking, you should be playing."

DeChaunac also didn't get much help from linesmen whom he had words with after they saw things differently than he did twice in the final set. However, they pardoned his French and he refused to put any of the blame on officials afterward.

"I wasn't playing well and I wasn't serving well, so maybe I was trying to blame them for that," DeChaunac said.

In doubles, Bastl had an even longer day. He and partner Kyle Spencer beat twins Mike and Bob Bryan of Stanford, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), in the quarterfinals, then rallied for a 6-3, 6-7 (7-4), 7-5 victory over Georgia's Steven Baldas and Rafael Jordan to advance to the final.

Smith and Tim Blenkiron defeated Harvard's Mitty Arnold and Tom Blake, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, in the other semifinal.

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