Jan. 17, 2010
Tennessee junior Boris Conkic continued his run through the SEC Coaches Indoor Championships on Sunday, earning two more victories and a spot in the finals.
Conkic qualified for his second tournament final this season by defeating Georgia's Nate Schnugg 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals at the Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Ga.
In the championship match, Conkic faces No. 45 Javier Garrapiz of Georgia, who defeated top-seeded junior John-Patrick Smith 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in Sunday morning's quarterfinals.
Smith won singles at the SEC Indoors last season, and Conkic will try to keep the title in Tennessee hands. The Vols have won the singles championship four times, with previous winners including Tim Jessup (1991), associate head coach Chris Woodruff (1993) and Peter Handoyo (2002). All four previous UT winners went on to All-America honors at season's end.
Conkic had previously lost twice to Schnugg, once during his freshman season and again as a sophomore. Both matches also lasted three sets. Sunday's match lasted also three sets, but the end result was different this time around. Conkic dropped the first set 2-6, but stormed back to win the final sets 6-3, 6-1.
"I played him twice and lost both times after winning the first set, so when I lost the first set today, I thought I could win this time," Conkic joked. "I mean, I felt well physically and mentally. I knew if I stuck to the game plan I discussed with the coaches, I'd have a good chance of winning."
Although he entered the SEC Indoors unranked, Schnugg has been a mainstay in the top 15 for the past three seasons and had been ranked No. 4 in September's preseason rankings. Earlier in the day, he defeated senior Davey Sandgren 6-2, 6-3.
In the quarterfinals, Conkic defeated No. 60 Drake Bernstein of Georgia 6-4, 6-2. Earlier in the tournament, he upset No. 7 Alexandre Lecroix of Florida in three sets. Conkic has won five consecutive matches to improve his season record to 11-4.
"The tournament is very strong with a lot of good players," Conkic said. "It's always good to play well in continuity, and it's a result of the last two or three months with the team, especially the last seven days before the tournament."
Conkic was a finalist in the third flight of the UVa Ranked Plus One Invitational in September.
Sandgren and Smith did not play their semifinal doubles match, thus ending their bid for a repeat title. Sandgren and Smith, along with the rest of the Vols, kick off the dual match season Saturday at Goodfriend Tennis Center, hosting East Tennessee State at 10:30 a.m. and Chattanooga at 6 p.m.
Scoring updates and a new live blog of the action will be available at UTSports.com.
SEC Coaches Indoor Championships
Boris Conkic, UT, def. Drake Bernstein, Georgia, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5
(6) Javier Garrapiz, Georgia, def. (1) John-Patrick Smith, UT, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
Nate Schnugg, Georgia, def. Davey Sandgren, UT, 6-2, 6-3
Boris Conkic, UT, def. Nate Schnugg, Georgia, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
Benneteau/Lacroix, Florida, def. (1) Sandgren/Smith, UT, w/o
Stefan Szacinski, LSU, def. Edward Jones, Tennessee, 6-4, 4-6, 1-0(6)