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Happy Birthday - Jan. 7: B. Fickey, K. Jeter, D. Owenby, J. Stokes

On Jan. 7, we celebrate the birthdays of Vols junior tennis player Brandon Fickey, sophomore left-handed pitcher Drake Owenby and junior men's hoops star Jarnell Stokes.

Brandon Fickey Drake Owenby Jarnell Stokes

Also celebrating a birthday today is former Tennessee volleyball player Kayla Jeter.

Kayla Jeter

Smith Advances in AO Playoffs

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Former Vol All-American John-Patrick Smith started his quest for a wild card to his home Grand Slam on Tuesday at Melbourne Park.

Smith opened the Australian Open Wildcard Playoff with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Marc Polmans to advance to the quarterfinals. 

He faces Dane Propoggia in the next round. 

Smith, a native of Queensland, Australia, is the top-seeded player in the 16-competitor draw. He reached the semifinals in this event last year but still received a main draw wild card from Tennis Australia. 

Thanks to a strong ending to the 2013 season, Smith finished the year at No. 220 in the ATP World Tour singles rankings. He enjoyed his best year in doubles on the pro circuit, becoming the 13th Vol in history to reach the top 100 in the rankings. He's been as high as No. 72 and collected seven titles during the season, picking up wins with 10 different partners.

Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren are both scheduled to play in the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoff later this month in Atlanta.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (11/18/2013)

The 2013 season has come to an end for the four former Vols playing on the professional tennis circuit.

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Nov. 18, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 130 (-7)
Doubles: 162 (+1)
Note: Season stopped two weeks early because of a shoulder injury ... Now in offseason.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 187 (+48)
Doubles: 133 (+10)
Note: Surged up the singles rankings and into the top 200 after a strong finish to his 2013 season ... Won his first Challenger singles title to close the year at the Champaign Challenger and also made the doubles finals with Austin Krajicek ... Just six spots away from his doubles career high as well ...  Reached the singles semifinals the week before at the Knoxville Challenger.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 222 (+2)
Doubles: 73 (+1)
Note: Closed the 2013 season much like he has the last two -- by making the quarterfinals of the Champaign Challenger ... 2011 SEC Athlete of the Year's season was highlighted by his doubles excellence, which included six Challenger titles with four different partners.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 738 (0)
Doubles: 461 (+3)
Note: Ended his season in September.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (11/12/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Nov. 12, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 123 (-3)
Doubles: 163 (-3)
Note: Called his season complete to rest his shoulder ... Pulled out of Knoxville Challenger because of the injury ... 2013 highlights include: reaching the main draw of three Grand Slams, playing his way to the semifinals of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, and winning his first Challenger singles title at the $100,000 event in Dallas.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 224 (-4)
Doubles: 74 (+2)
Note: Won his sixth Challenger doubles title of 2013 when he became the first Vol to win a title at the Knoxville Challenger, winning it with Sam Groth ... Lost in first round of singles ... Playing the Champaign Challenger this week.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 235 (+8)
Doubles: 143 (+4)
Note: Points added for reaching the singles semifinals of the Knoxville Challenger, where he lost in a close match to eventual winner Tim Smyczek ... made it to the doubles semifinals ... Finishing the year this week at the Champaign Challenger.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 738 (0)
Doubles: 464 (+5)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (10/21/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Oct. 21, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 125 (+1)
Doubles: 165 (-5)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week ... Next stop: $75,000 Charlottesville Challenger.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 207 (+1)
Doubles: 72 (-1)
Note: Career high in singles ... Off last week ... Off this week ... Next stop: $75,000 Charlottesville Challenger.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 249 (-2)
Doubles: 158 (-1)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week ... Next stop: $75,000 Charlottesville Challenger.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 722 (-20)
Doubles: 476 (-1)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (10/14/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Oct. 14, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 126 (-2)
Doubles: 160 (+40)
Note: Jumped back up the doubles rankings this week by winning the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger with Austin Krajicek, giving the pro Vols a doubles sweep of the three California Challenger titles over the last month ... Off this week.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 208 (+15)
Doubles: 71 (0)
Note: Reached career high of 208 in singles rankings after reaching the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger ... Off this week.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 247 (+18)
Doubles: 157 (-5)
Note: Reached the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger ... Off this week.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 702 (0)
Doubles: 475 (-8)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (10/7/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Oct. 7, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 124 (0)
Doubles: 204 (-46)
Note: Lost in the first round of the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger ... Playing this week in the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 223 (-4)
Doubles: 71 (-2)
Note: Won back-to-back doubles titles in California, taking the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger last week with Reid ... Playing singles only this week at the Tiburon Challenger. 

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 265 (-17)
Doubles: 152 (-21)
Note: Lost in the first round of last week's $100,000 Sacramento Challenger ... Playing this week in the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger. 

Matteo Fago
Singles: 702 (0)
Doubles: 467 (-10)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week.

Happy Birthday - Oct. 1: Emily Morrow & Sam Winterbotham

On the first day of October, we'd like to wish a Happy Birthday to freshman Tennessee soccer player Emily Morrow and head men's tennis coach Sam Winterbotham.

Emily Morrow Sam Winterbotham

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (9/30/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Sept. 30, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 124 (+4)
Doubles: 158 (+2)
Note: Reached the singles quarterfinals of the $50,000 Napa Challenger last week ... Playing at the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger this week ... 

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 219 (-2)
Doubles: 69 (+2)
Note: Won the doubles title at the $50,000 Napa Challenger last week after taking a week off singles competition ... It was his 15th pro doubles title ... Playing the Sacramento Challenger this week in singles and doubles.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 248 (-15)
Doubles: 131 (-4)
Note: Reached second round of singles last week at the $50,000 Napa Challenger ... Playing this week at the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 702 (-13)
Doubles: 457 (+50)
Note: Career best No. 457 in the doubles rankings after points were added from Futures title two weeks ago ... Off last week ... 

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (9/23/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Sept. 23, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 128 (-3)
Doubles: 160 (-3)
Note: Off last week ... Playing this week at the $50,000 Napa Challenger in California.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 217 (+15)
Doubles: 71 (+1)
Note: Working back up the rankings -- just seven from his career best -- after reaching the quarterfinals last week at the $125,000+H Kaohsiung Challenger in Taiwan ... Playing doubles this week at the $50,000 Napa Challenger.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 233 (-2)
Doubles: 127 (+14)
Note: Nearing the top 100 in doubles after winning the $75,000 Izmir Challenger in Turkey last week with Austin Krajicek. Ranking of 127 is a career best ... Playing this week at the $50,000 Napa Challenger in California. 

Matteo Fago
Singles: 689 (-1)
Doubles: 507 (-24)
Note: Won another doubles title last week at the $10,000 Futures in Italy last week, this time with fellow Italian Manuel Mazzella ... Winner of three doubles titles this year ... Off this week.

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