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Happy Birthday - May 26: J. Nelvis, T. Patrick

On May 26, we wish a very Happy Birthday to junior sprinter Jarael Nelvis of the Vol track & field team, and redshirt senior Taylor Patrick of the men's tennis squad.

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ON TOUR: French Open Draw + ATP Rankings

The French Open singles qualifying draw was released Monday with Tennys Sandgren and Rhyne Williams set to participate. 

Williams, the No. 15 seed in qualies, takes on Boy Westerhof. Ranked No. 121 in the ATP world rankings, Williams is the highest seeded player in his section of the draw. Sandgren, who recently arrived in Europe, is taking on 30th-seeded Ruben Bemelans. It will be the first French Open appearance for either player. 

John-Patrick Smith is set to play main draw doubles in his second Grand Slam. While watching the Vols in the NCAA Tennis Championships, he learned he'd been accepted into the doubles draw with Marinko Matosevic. 

For a look at this week's rankings:

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 121 (-1)
Doubles: 185 (+11)
Note: Played last week at the Bordeaux Challenger, reaching the doubles quarterfinals with John Peers ... Playing the French Open singles qualifying this week. 

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 225 (+3)
Doubles: 81 (+1)
Note: Played last week at the Busan Challenger in South Korea, losing in the opening round ... Playing doubles at the French Open, his fifth continent to play matches on this year.  

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 248 (-6)
Doubles: 139 (-1)
Note: Off last week ... Playing this week in the French Open singles qualifying.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 738 (+1)
Doubles: 993 (-14)
Note: Played a $10,000 Futures in Romania last week, reaching the second round of singles and the quarterfinals of doubles ... Playing in another $10,000 Futures in Romania this week. 

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (5/6/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of May 6, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 120 (-1)
Doubles: 195 (-2)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week ... Prepping for the European clay court season

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 232 (-2)
Doubles: 140 (+25)
Note: Won his first Challenger doubles title with Austin Krajicek at the $50,000 Tallahassee Challenger ... Pair made good on the No. 1 seeding during the week ... Lost in the first round of singles. Off this week.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 261 (+3)
Doubles: 87 (+6)
Note: Made the doubles finals and second round of singles at the $50,000 An-Ning Challenger in China ... Has made 3 Challenger doubles finals of the last month, boosting his ranking into the 80s for the first time ... Qualified for singles at the $125,000 Kun-Ming Challenger.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 731 (-1)
Doubles: 976 (+3)
Note: Lost in qualifying in three sets last week at the $35,000 Napoli Challenger in Italy ... Off this week.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (4/22/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of April 22, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 119 (-2)
Doubles: 199 (-1)
Note: Reached the second round of the Sarasota Challenger, losing to college rival Steve Johnson in straight sets ... Williams leads series with Johnson 2-1 on the pro circuit ... Playing the Savannah Challenger this week.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 219 (-10)
Doubles: 160 (+5)
Note: Lost in the first round of singles and made the quarterfinals of doubles last week at the Sarasota Challenger ... Playing the Savannah Challenger this week.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 260 (-2)
Doubles: 92 (+5)
Note: Reached career high in doubles ranking after making another doubles final in Mexico, losing the Mexico City Challenger in a deciding tiebreak ... Finished with three-tournament series in Mexico ... Heading to Asia hard courts next.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 731 (-1)
Doubles: 976 (+3)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (4/15/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of April 15, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 117 (+27)
Doubles: 198 (-1)
Note: Became first Vol in 14 years to reach the semifinals of an ATP event ... He played his way into the semifinals of the US Open Clay Court Championships, eventually losing to world No. 12 Nicolas Almagro of Spain ... Climbed to a career-best No. 117 in singles as a result ... Trying to become 14th Vol to reach the top 100 ... Playing in the Sarasota Challenger this week, facing Tennys Sandgren in the first round.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 209 (+4)
Doubles: 165 (-1)
Note: Reached the second round of the $15K Oklahoma City Futures ... Facing Rhyne Williams to open the $100K Sarasota Challenger. The two are also playing together in doubles.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 258 (-10)
Doubles: 97 (-3)
Note: Reached the second round of the $100K Guadalajara Challenger in singles and made the doubles final with Sam Groth ... Playing in this week's $35K+H Mexico City Challenger.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 730 (+5)
Doubles: 979 (0)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week.

Happy Birthday - April 13: Tennis' Jarryd Chaplin

On April 13, we send Happy Birthday wishes to junior tennis player Jarryd Chaplin.

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ON TOUR: Williams Reaches 1st ATP Quarterfinal

Former tennis All-American Rhyne Williams took another step forward in his career Thursday, beating former top-10 star Ivo Karlovic to reach his first career ATP-level quarterfinal.

Williams held serve for the whole three set match and broke Karlovic just once, but that was enough for a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3) victory in the second round of the US Men's Clay Court Championship, an ATP 250 event in Houston. 

Williams was originally set to play top American Sam Querrey, but the 20th-ranked player withdrew prior to the match with injury. Karlovic, the 2007 champion ranked 136 in the world, was the lucky loser who replaced him in the draw. 

Karlovic, who stands 6-foot-10, served a tournament-record 28 aces in the match against Williams, but that was not enough to beat the former Vol. 

Williams, ranked 144, is now in his first career quarterfinal this afternoon where he will face another veteran, 35-year old Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain. Ramirez Hidalgo knocked off sixth-seeded Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-2.

While Williams has won a Challenger on hard courts, it's important to note that Williams has already achieved professional success on clay, a surface generally less familiar to American players. All three of Williams' singles titles on the ITF Futures Circuit have come on clay courts. 

In Mexico: John-Patrick Smith continued his winning ways in doubles on Thursday night. He and fellow Aussie Sam Groth beat wild cards Carsten Ball and Daniel Garza 6-4, 7-5. Smith is a career-best No. 94 in the doubles world rankings this week. 

In Oklahoma: Tennys Sandgren, the top seed at the Oklahoma Futures, had his run end in the second round Thursday. Former Ole Miss Rebel Tucker Vorster defeated him 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. Sandgren will now turn his attention to the series of American Challengers on clay.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (4/8/2013)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of April 8, 2013. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.

Rhyne Williams
Singles: 144 (+1)
Doubles: 197 (-2)
Note: Off last week ... Playing in the second round today of the U.S. Clay Court Championships vs. top American Sam Querry ... Won first-round match on Monday, his second ATP-level win of the year.

Tennys Sandgren
Singles: 213 (-2)
Doubles: 164 (-10)
Note: Served as a hitting partner for the U.S. Davis Cup Team last week in Boise, Idaho, as the Americans lost to Serbia ... Playing at a $15K Futures this week in Oklahoma City, Okla.

John-Patrick Smith
Singles: 248 (+1)
Doubles: 94 (+1)
Note: Reached quarterfinals in doubles of the $35K+H Leon Challenger in Mexico ... Playing this week in Guadalajara for another Challenger, where he reached the second round of singles and is playing in the doubles quarterfinals.

Matteo Fago
Singles: 735 (+115)
Doubles: 979 (-3)
Note: Reached a career-best in the singles rankings after points were added from a finals appearance at a Futures in Turkey ... Lost in the first round of singles at a $15K Futures in Italy last week. 

Markus Kerner Set for Davis Cup Debut

Men's tennis signee Markus Kerner is scheduled to play his first Davis Cup match this weekend, representing Estonia in its relegation play-off match against Bulgaria. 

Kerner was listed on Estonia's team for its tie earlier this year against Ireland, but did not play. He is set to play singles against Dimitar Kuzmanov and Tihomir Grazdanov, two players ranked in the top 650 in the ATP World Rankings. Kerner, one of the Vols' two signees during the fall period, enters the weekend ranked No. 1343. 

The Davis Cup is an annual international competition that pits country against country in team competition. Nine Vols have represented their nations in the Davis Cup over the years, including current sophomore Mikelis Libietis, who took the court for Latvia in 2011. Associate head coach Chris Woodruff played for the United States in 2000, winning a deciding match against Zimbabwe.

Former Vol Tennys Sandgren is also part of the Davis Cup action this weekend. He is serving as a hitting partner for the U.S. team as they get ready to play Serbia in Boise, Idaho. 

Vol Calls - Monday Night at 8 p.m.

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"Vol Calls" at 8 p.m. Eastern / 7 p.m. Central will feature a live report from Oklahoma City as the Lady Vols basketball team prepares to meet Louisville Tuesday night for the right to advance to the NCAA Women's Final Four. 

After Spring Break last week, Spring Football practice cranks back up on Tuesday and Bob Kesling and Brent Hubbs will talk to new assistant football coach Robert Gillespie. 

In addition, UT first baseman Scott Price and sophomore tennis star Hunter Reese will be on-site guests at Calhoun's On the River in downtown Knoxville.  

Be sure to listen to the Vol Network on UTSports.com/AllAccess

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