Former Vol Rhyne Williams' first appearance in an ATP level event ended Thursday evening in painfully close fashion.
Williams was broken on his last service game to lose a two-and-a-half hour march 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 to world No. 87 Frederico Gil in the opening round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
Despite the loss, it was still a career weekend for Williams and the Tennessee program. The Knoxville native became the first Vol since Chris Woodruff in 2001 to appear in the singles main draw of an ATP event.
By winning two matches against top 125 opponents earlier this week, Williams earned 16 tour points and will appear in the top 400 for the first time in his career. He is currently ranked a career-best No. 427.
In Canada: Former Vol John-Patrick Smith kept rolling in Canada on Thursday, winning easily in singles and doubles to stay alive at the Gatineau Futures.
After opening the tournament with a long three-set win Wednesday, he beat former Texas A&M standout Jeff Dadamo 6-2, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals. Smith, the seventh seed, faces fourth-seeded Fritz Wolmarans of South Africa on Friday. Wolmarans is ranked No. 347.
While the current tennis Vols play Ole Miss on Friday, Smith and a former Rebel marched on the doubles semifinals. Smith and 2009 NCAA champion Devin Britton moved past Constantin Belot and Vincent Millot 6-4, 6-1. They face unseeded Richard Becker and Stefan Seifert next. Individually, Smith and Britton are both on 10-match winning streaks.