As a college player at
USC won the NCAA men's tennis title in all four of Johnson's years, from 2009 to 2012, and also in 2014, two years after Johnson graduated — all under Coach Peter Smith.
For Johnson, things have been more difficult as a pro.
Friday, in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, a more-seasoned Johnson continued to show the kind of progress that U.S. tennis fans have been expecting from him for several years now.
Johnson, ranked No. 44 in the world — he got as high as No. 38 in November — handled Spanish veteran
"Everything has just kind of come together," Johnson said.
Sam Querrey is the second-highest-ranked U.S. player at No. 43, behind No. 20
Sloane Stephens, the 42nd-ranked woman, recovered nicely after giving up a lead in the first set and defeated 13th-seeded
Another U.S. entry, Alison Riske, lost to seventh-seeded