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ON TOUR: Smith Gets First Doubles Win in ATP Event

Former SEC Athlete of the Year John-Patrick Smith collected his first doubles victory in an ATP event Wednesday at the Brisbane International. 

Smith and frequent doubles partner John Peers were put in the draw as alternates and made the most of their opportunity, defeating Americans Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-4. The collegiate duo faces singles standouts Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori on Thursday.

Smith and Rhyne Williams both lost in the first round of singles qualifying late last week, but Smith and Peers stayed in Brisbane and got the nod to play doubles after the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek had to withdraw because of an eye infection.

Williams will play qualifying at the ATP Sydney event this weekend.

ITA RANKINGS SET FOR THURSDAY RELEASE
The college tennis season is almost underway, with the Vols set to open the season at home Jan. 17 against Tennessee Tech. The ITA will release its first team rankings of the season, in addition to individual and regional rankings, on Thursday. Tennessee finished the 2012 season ranked 20th as a team and are returning all six starters in addition to adding senior John Collins and newcomers Bartosz Sawicki and Sebastian Yllera in January.

Smith Earns Spot in AO Playoff Semifinals



Tennis Australia: Smith through to play-off semifinals

Behind a solid returning performance on a hot afternoon, former Vol John-Patrick Smith advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open Playoff in Melbourne Park.

Smith beat seventh-seeded Greg Jones 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in Wednesday's quarterfinal to move just two matches away from securing a main draw wild card into his home Grand Slam. 

The match was closely contested, but Smith got the breaks when he needed them, serving out the victory on his first match point at 40-30. Jones was coming off a lengthy five-set win in his opening match, and that mileage started to play a factor as the match continued. 

"Coming in, I had to make a lot of returns on his serve," Smith told Tennis Australia's broadcasters after the match. "He has a big serve and probably hit a dozen aces. I haven't seen the stats. I just knew I had to make returns and had to get him moving."

Smith, seeded second, is the highest seed remaining in the tournament. In the semifinals, he will face the winner of the ongoing match between Matt Reid and junior champion Luke Saville.


Smith Set for AO Playoff Quarterfinals

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Former Vol John-Patrick Smith won his first career five-set match Monday to move into Wednesday's quarterfinals in the Australian Open Playoffs at Melbourne Park. 

Second-seeded Smith fought through a lull in the second set to breeze past 17-year-old Jay Andrijic 6-2, 7-6, 6-1 in a match that lasted about two hours. He now faces seventh-seeded Greg Jones on Wednesday in Australia, which will likely mean a Tuesday evening start time in the Eastern time zone.

Smith's consistency proved to be a difference maker on Monday against Andrijic. The winds picked up as the match wore on, but Smith broke Andrijic's serve seven times over the three sets and only dropped serve once.

Andrijic came back from 3-1 down the second set and eventually held serve for a 5-4 lead, but Smith won the last three games to retake the momentum. The third set went quickly as Smith reeled of six games in a row to advance to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

While Smith is in familiar territory, he told local media outlets he hardly feels like the same player he was a year ago. He has now completed a full year on the professional circuit and is now the sixth-ranked Australian. 

The winner of the 16-player tournament receives a main draw wild card into the Australian Open, Smith's home major. The four-time All-American hails from Townsville, Queensland, but he has based most of his professional training in Knoxville since turning pro in 2011.

Tennis Australia: JP powers into second round

Smith Starts Australian Open Playoffs Tonight

Former SEC Athlete of the Year John-Patrick Smith will compete for a wild card in his home Grand Slam starting today in the Australian Open Playoff at Melbourne Park.

Smith is seeded second of 16 Australian players competing for a main draw wild card into January's Australian Open. He faces 17-year-old Jay Andrijic on Monday at 10 a.m. to open the tournament. In Knoxville time (U.S. Eastern), the match starts Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern and will be streamed live by Tennis Australia for free here: Live Streaming

Since finishing his college career with the Vols in 2011, Smith has spent a majority of his professional career still based out of Knoxville and is the official touring pro of the Knoxville Racquet Club. As the sixth-ranked Australian, his return Down Under makes headlines. He was featured in today's story by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Smith has played in this tournament the last two years, reaching the quarterfinals last season. This time around, the tournament format for the men this time will be a best-of-5-set format in every round.

IN NORCROSS
Starting Friday, the USTA will host its Australian Open Wild Card Playoff, and former Vols Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren both in the 8-man field. Williams has made the semifinals of that tournament the last two years, and it will be Sandgren's first appearance in the tournament in Norcross, Ga. Full match coverage, photos and video of that tournament will be available at utsports.com. 

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (11/19/12)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Nov. 19, 2012. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.


Rhyne Williams

Singles: 192 (+25)

Doubles: 226 (+2)

Note: Ended season by cracking the top 200 for the first time in his career ... climbed 25 spots up the rankings by reaching his first career Challenger semifinal in Champaign, earning a strong win against American veteran Ryan Sweeting in the quarterfinals to do so ... 2012 season over, but could play the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoff in December, as he has the last two years.  


Tennys Sandgren

Singles: 234 (+7)

Doubles: 163 (-1)

Note: Made it to the second round of the Champaign Challenger to end the season. His ranking of 234 is a career best ... 2012 tournament season over, but could play the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoff in December.


John-Patrick Smith

Singles: 246 (0)

Doubles: 105 (0)

Note: Reached the quarterfinals of the Champaign Challenger to successfully defend his points from last year ... Made it to the doubles quarterfinals with John Peers and will enter 2013 about 30 points from becoming the 13th Vol in program history to entering the top 100 ... Likely to play the Australian Open Playoffs in Melbourne in December.


Matteo Fago

Singles: 878 (0)

Doubles: 1566 (+3)

Note: Off last week ... Off this week.


Adam Hubble

Singles: 1294 (+10)

Doubles: 194 (-4)

Note: Had to pull out of the Champaign Challenger with a knee injury to finish the season ... Off this week.

ON TOUR: Three Pro Vols Roll to 2nd Round at Champaign

Rhyne Williams, Tennys Sandgren and John-Patrick Smith all won their matches in straight sets to advance to the second round at the Champaign Challenger, played at the University of Illinois. The tournament serves as the year-end finale of the USTA Pro Circuit.

Williams faced former Texas A&M standout Austin Krajicek for the second week in a row. Williams had faced match points in their meeting a week ago in Knoxville, but the rematch Tuesday was not nearly as close. Williams broke Krajicek twice in both sets to win 6-2, 6-2. He now faces Daniel Smethurst of Great Britain.

Sandgren pulled off one of the three first-round upsets, ousting defending champion and eighth-seeded Alex Kuznetsov 6-4, 7-6 (4). He'll square off against recent Ohio State graduate Chase Buchanan today.

Smith played one of the early matches on Monday, beating South Korea's Suk-Young Jeong 6-3, 6-3. He'll play fellow Australian lefty Chris Guccione in the early match today. Guccione, a qualifier, upset second-seeded Mischa Zverev.

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

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Nov. 12, 2012. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.


Rhyne Williams

Singles: 217 (+23)

Doubles: 228 (-13)

Note: Back-to-back Challenger quarterfinals for Williams at Charlottesville and last week at Knoxville ... Singles ranking is a new career best ... Playing this week at the Champaign Challenger.  


Tennys Sandgren

Singles: 241 (+15)

Doubles: 162 (+1)

Note: Reached the singles quarterfinals last week at the Knoxville Challenger ... Recorded first career top-100 win by beating top-seeded Jesse Levine in the opening round ... Playing this week at the Champaign Challenger in Illinois.


John-Patrick Smith

Singles: 246 (+1)

Doubles: 105 (+1)

Note: Lost in the first round of singles and doubles at the Knoxville Challenger ... Playing this week to end the season at the Champaign Challenger, where he has already won his first match. 


Matteo Fago

Singles: 878 (+2)

Doubles: 1569 (+14)

Note: Off last week ... Off this week.


Adam Hubble

Singles: 1304 (-5)

Doubles: 190 (-24)

Note: Lost in the first round of doubles at the Knoxville Challenger, losing points since he had reached the finals here the year before ... Reached the final round of singles qualifying ... Finishing season this week at the Champaign Challenger.

ON TOUR: ATP Tour Rankings (11/5/12)

Here are the Vols' updated ATP Tour rankings as of Nov. 5, 2012. The Vols are listed by highest singles ranking first. The number in parenthesis denotes change from previous week.


Rhyne Williams

Singles: 240 (+13)

Doubles: 217 (-5)

Note: Singles ranking a career best after reaching the quarterfinals of the $75K Charlottesville Challenger ... Playing singles and doubles this week at the Knoxville Challenger.


John-Patrick Smith

Singles: 247 (+14)

Doubles: 106 (+12)

Note: Reached a career-high doubles ranking of 106 after winning the doubles title at the $75K Charlottesville Challenger with John Peers. The two have won 5 Challenger-level doubles titles together this season ... Playing singles and doubles at the Knoxville Challenger this week.


Tennys Sandgren

Singles: 256 (+1)

Doubles: 162 (+1)

Note: Lost in first round singles and doubles last week at the Charlottesville Challenger ... Playing singles and doubles this week at the Knoxville Challenger.


Matteo Fago

Singles: 880 (+2)

Doubles: 1583 (-2)

Note: Off last week ... Off this week.


Adam Hubble

Singles: 1299 (-5)

Doubles: 166 (-1)

Note: Lost in the first round doubles of the Charlottesville Challenger ... Playing this week in Knoxville, where he is in main draw doubles and trying to qualify in singles ... Reached the doubles final in Knoxville last year.

ON TOUR: Smith, Peers Win Title in Charlottesville

John-Patrick Smith picked up some more hardware Sunday before heading back to his home courts this week for the Knoxville Challenger.

Smith and former Baylor standout John Peers collected their fifth Challenger-level doubles title of the year together, beating wild cards Jack Sock and Jarmere Jenkins 7-5, 6-1 at the $75,000 Charlottesville Men's Pro Challenger at the Boar's Head Sports Club. 

The Aussie college duo bagged 90 tour points and split $4,650 between them. 

The title was Smith's first at the $75,000 level. He has won seven doubles titles this year, in addition to two singles titles. 

The 2011 SEC Athlete of the Year will climb to approximately 106 in the ATP World Doubles Rankings. A semifinal appearance in Knoxville should get Smith into the top 100 for the first time in his career. Eleven Vols in history have reached the top 100 in either or both singles and doubles.

ON TOUR: Smith, Peers Play for Fifth Title

While Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren have already returned to Goodfriend Tennis Center to prepare for the Knoxville Challenger, fellow former Tennessee All-American John-Patrick Smith still has some unfinished business in Charlottesville, Va.

Smith and John Peers will play for their fifth Challenger doubles title of the year together when they face wild cards Jack Sock and Jarmere Jenkins on Sunday in the finals of the Charlottesville Challenger at the Boar's Head Sports Club.

The match begins at 1 p.m. and video will be streamed live by the USTA on its Pro Circuit Page.

Smith and Peers, both from Australia, have formed a solid team on the ATP Challenger circuit this season. In addition to their four Challenger titles, they have also reached two additional finals. They beat Jesse Levine and Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-3 in their semifinal match Saturday and have only dropped one set this week. 

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