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ON TOUR: Vols Go 4-for-4 in Sacramento and Brazil

Former Vol Tennys Sandgren won his first match at the $100,000 Challenger level Monday with a decisive win to open the Sacramento Challenger in California.

Sandgren defeated wild card and Wimbledon doubles champion Frederik Nielsen 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the second round, where he will face either American Ryan Sweeting or Australian Matt Reid.

Later in the day, Sandgren and Rhyne Williams beat fellow wild cards and former UCLA standouts 6-2, 3-6, [10-7] in their opening doubles match.

Williams plays singles today, and Adam Hubble begins in doubles.

$35,000 Belem Challenger: John-Patrick Smith won his singles and doubles matches to open the $35,000 Belem Challenger in Brazil. 

Smith, the 2010 and 2011 SEC Player of the Year, took on a former Ole Miss Rebel and 2004 SEC Player of the Year Catalin Gard in the first round of singles. Smith picked up the pace in the third set to win 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. 

In the evening, Smith and Peers teamed up to win their opening doubles match 6-1, 6-1 over Brazilian wild cards Marcos Vinicius Dias and Alexandre Tsuchiya.

ON TOUR: ATP Rankings (10/1/12)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Oct. 1, 2012. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.


John-Patrick Smith

Singles: 230 (-2)

Doubles: 137 (+3)

Note: Off last week ... Playing in Brazil this week at the $35,000+H Belem Challenger as part of a tour through South America ... Won first-round match Monday vs. former SEC Player of the Year, Catalin Gard.


Rhyne Williams

Singles: 274 (-4)

Doubles: 318 (-17)

Note: Off last week ... Playing in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger this week, taking on familiar foe Rik De Voest in the first round. 


Tennys Sandgren

Singles: 278 (+35)

Doubles: 217 (+10)

Note: Points added for sweeping the singles and doubles titles last week at a $15,000 Futures in Canada ... Doubles ranking is a career best ... Off last week ... Playing in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger this week.


Matteo Fago

Singles: 939 (+16)

Doubles: 1561 (+12)

Note: Closing in on career-best singles ranking of 908 (10/2/2006) ... Off this week.


Adam Hubble

Singles: 1290 (-5)

Doubles: 174 (-10)

Note: Off last week ... Playing in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger this week as the No. 2 doubles seed ... Closing in on his career-best doubles rank of 146 (8/2/2010).

ON TOUR: ATP Rankings (9/24/12)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Sept. 24, 2012. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.


John-Patrick Smith

Singles: 228 (+2)

Doubles: 140 (+1)

Note: Off last week ... Off this week ... Playing in Brazil next week at the $35,000+H Belem Challenger.


Rhyne Williams

Singles: 270 (-17)

Doubles: 301 (-29)

Note: Off last week ... Off this week ...  Playing in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger next week. 


Tennys Sandgren

Singles: 313 (0)

Doubles: 227 (0)

Note: Swept the singles and doubles titles last week at a $15,000 Futures in Canada ... Off this week ... Playing in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger next week.


Matteo Fago

Singles: 955 (+23)

Doubles: 1573 (N/A)

Note: Reached the second round of a $10,000 Futures in Italy last week ... Off this week ... Off next week.


Adam Hubble

Singles: 1285 (+10)

Doubles: 164 (+2)

Note: Off last week ... Off this week ... Playing in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger next week ... Closing in on his career-best rank of 146 (8/2/2010).

In the News: John Collins

With the fall tennis season starting today in Waco, Texas, the Knoxville News Sentinel ran this feature story on the senior transfer John Collins and his journey from his home college in Maryland to Tennessee for his final season.

On Sept. 15, we have a slew of birthdays in the Tennessee athletics world.

Among current student-athletes, celebrating are softball's Whitney Hammond, basketball sophomore Josh Richardson and track and field's Amber Zimmerman.

Whitney Hammond  Josh Richardson  Amber Zimmerman

Former Tennessee student-athletes celebrating today:

Baseball's Luke Hochevar  of the Kansas City Royals

Luke Hochevar

Football legend Gene McEver

Gene McEver

Olympic gold medal pol vaulter Timothy Mack.


Former tennis star Byron Talbot

Smith Set for WTT Finals Weekend

Former Vol John-Patrick Smith and the Orange County Breakers begin the World TeamTennis Finals Weekend tonight in Charleston, S.C.

The Breakers take on the Sacramento Capitals in the western conference finals at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. The match will be streamed live with commentary on wtt.com.

Smith was named the WTT Male Rookie of the Year during the July regular season, leading the Breakers to an 8-6 record. He won his final five singles matches of the season, including back-to-back victories over ATP top-40 player Kevin Anderson. 

A win by the Breakers would put the team in Sunday's league finals. The match starts Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised live by NBC Sports Network. 

ON TOUR: Vols in Action, Week of Sept. 10

Three former Vols are touring and one will be playing in a team championship this week in four different countries. 

Tennys Sandgren is seeded No. 1 in the second of three $15,000 Futures in Canada. He won his first round match Monday, beating wild card Robert Rotaru 6-2, 6-4. He is facing former Florida Gator Sekou Bangoura in the next round.

Adam Hubble has picked back up on the doubles trail in recent weeks, recording a semifinal finish in last week's $35,000 Challenger event in Brasov, Romania. He is the top seed in this week's $50,000 Challenger in Seville, Spain. He is playing this week with fellow Australian Rameez Junaid after spending several weeks on the doubles court with Romanian Andrei Daescu.

Matteo Fago is back in action at a $10,000 Futures stop in Siena, Italy. He won his opening round easily, beating wild card Christian Perinti 6-1, 6-1. 

John-Patrick Smith was in Canada last week but has returned to U.S. soil to finish the World TeamTennis season with the Orange Breakers. Smith, the WTT Male Rookie of the Year, will lead the Breakers into the Western Conference Final on Friday against the Sacramento Capitals. The match starts at 6:30 p.m. in Charleston, S.C., will be streamed live at wtt.com. 

Williams, Sandgren Start US Open Qualifying Today


FLUSHING, N.Y. -- Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren will start their journey to the U.S. Open main draw Tuesday with their first-round qualifying matches at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

The qualifying matches are being televised for the first time ever by CBS Sports Network. Williams' match this afternoon will be on one of the televised courts. He's the third match on court 11.

Williams takes on a familiar foe in Vasek Pospisil of Canada, the seventh seed in qualifying. The pair last faced in the first round of last year's Knoxville Challenger, with the big-serving Canadian winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. Williams won the first meeting between the two in 2010 on clay, a surface the former Vol has excelled on professionally.

Last year, Williams won his first qualifying match with a victory over South African veteran Rik DeVoest. This is Williams' second year to play qualifying. The former All-American has already qualified for one ATP-level event this year, playing his way into the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.

Pospisil is one of Canada's rising young stars. The 22-year-old enters the week ranked No. 104 and reached the second round of the US Open last year. He won the Granby Challenger in Canada in July.

Sandgren takes on Franco Skugor of Croatia later this afternoon. Sandgren has won five USTA Pro Circuit Futures titles since beginning his professional career in 2011, including three this year. Like Williams, Sandgren played in qualifying last year where he lost to Stanford standout Bradley Klahn. He has been ranked as high as No. 266 in singles.

Franco is currently ranked No. 977 in the world rankings though it was only a year ago his was up to No. 147. The 24 year old is among the tallest players on tour at 6-foot-8. He has never made the main draw of a Grand Slam, though he did make it to the second round of qualifying at the French Open.

John-Patrick Smith has the day off and will not start qualifying until Wednesday. He's set to take on veteran Chilean Paul Capdeville, who's currently ranked No. 167. The 29-year-old has made the second round of the U.S. Open three times. 

Smith is playing U.S. Open qualifying for the first time, riding the wave of a strong summer in which he won his first Challenger title in Winnetka, Ill., and led the Orange County Breakers to the World TeamTennis. The last time Smith was on the outdoor courts in Flushing was as an 18 year old playing in the boy's competition, his final ITF junior tournament before coming to Tennessee as a freshman.



ON TOUR: ATP Rankings (8/20/12)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Aug. 20, 2012. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.


John-Patrick Smith

Singles: 225 (+3)

Doubles: 136 (+2)

Note: Off last week ... Career-best ranking in doubles ... Will play US Open qualifying for first time in his career starting Tuesday


Rhyne Williams

Singles: 283 (+6)

Doubles: 269 (+2)

Note: Off last week ... Received US Open qualifying wild card and will start Tuesday


Tennys Sandgren

Singles: 313 (+8)

Doubles: 231 (0)

Note: Off last week ... Received US Open qualifying wild card and will start Tuesday


Adam Hubble

Singles: 1292 (+3)

Doubles: 197 (+4)

Note: Off last week ... Off this week

Happy Birthday - Aug. 19 - Lauren Gibson, Shelby Cannon

On Aug. 19, we wish Happy Birthday to Tennessee star softball infielder and member of Team USA Lauren Gibson as well as former men's tennis star Shelby Cannon.

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