By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, MAY 21, 2014 – USF sophomore Roberto Cid made a huge statement in his first-ever NCAA Singles Championship match on Wednesday.
The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year took down top-seeded Clay Thompson of UCLA, 6-4, 6-3, in the first round at Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
“Anytime you’re playing the No. 1 player in the country you have to bring your ‘A’ game and he did that,” head coach Matt Hill said. “He stuck to the plan, he was very disciplined about what we set up before the match started and he made a couple of really good adjustments.”
Thompson (37-8) has been ranked No. 1 in the nation for most of the season and helped No. 5 UCLA reach the NCAA team semifinals.
“It’s definitely a great statement here at this tournament at the end of the year,” Hill said. “All the top coaches and players are here and it’s a great statement from a program standpoint when he walks off the court after taking down the top player in the country.”
No. 47 Cid (22-5) was tied with Thompson at 4-4 in the first set and grabbed the momentum by breaking Thompson’s serve on the way to a win. Cid seized control of the match by taking a 5-2 lead in the second set.
“Roberto did a nice job of mentally staying focused and being mature on the court,” Hill said. “He had some tough moments and he handled them very, very well. We’re excited for tomorrow.”
Cid's opponent on Thursday will be Drake's Alen Salibasic, who knocked off No. 23 Austin Smith of Georgia, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5, Wednesday afternoon. Ranked No. 68 in the nation, Salibasic is 25-9 this season. Thursday's start time has yet to be announced.