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Vols Best San Diego to Start Kick-Off Weekend
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The third-ranked Tennessee Volunteers started the ITA Kick-Off Weekend with a 6-1 victory over San Diego on Friday at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.

The Vols (2-0) face Clemson on Saturday at 3 p.m., and the winner of that match will advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.

"We're not trying to peak right now," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "We're trying to get stronger. We're trying to get fitter. We're nowhere near where we need to be, but you've got to compete. I feel like we competed today."

The Vols took an early 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point for the 15th consecutive match. Tennessee then built a 3-0 lead thanks to two fast wins by sophomores Edward Jones and Tennys Sandgren.

The only point Tennessee lost was when senior Matteo Fago dropped his match on court 4 in straight sets to Clarke Spinosa.

Jones was off court first with a 6-1, 6-1 win against Nils Schive on court 6, and Sandgren continued his impressive spring when he beat Patrick Pohlmann 6-2, 6-2. He has won 7 of 8 matches this month.

Senior John-Patrick Smith rallied in the second set to clinch the match at 4-1 with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Nikola Bubnic. Smith, who also clinched the season-opener against East Tennessee State last week, won his 130th career singles match.

After the match was clinched, Tennessee wrapped up a pair of three-set matches. Senior Boris Conkic beat Thibaut Visy 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on court 5, and sophomore Rhyne Williams extended his winning streak to 10 matches with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 victory over No. 31 Dean Jackson on court 1.

With the victory, the Vols extended their home winning streak to 25 matches. Their last loss came in 2009 against Kentucky in a non-conference match.

San Diego (2-1) entered the day ranked 47th nationally, but the Toreros featured a deep lineup with Jackson ranked in singles and a top-10 doubles team. The loss was their first of the season.

"They played great, didn't they? You just look at their lineup," Winterbotham said. "Their coaches have good experience of what it takes to be the best team. Brett (Masi) has coached on the USC team that won the national championship, so he knows what he's doing.

"We know they were going to be ready for us. We knew they were going to be prepared. And they were good."

In doubles, Williams and Sandgren led the way at No. 2 for the Vols, quickly earning an 8-2 win against Bubnic and Schive.

Smith and Conkic clinched the point with an 8-4 victory over seventh-ranked Jackson and Pohlmann. The Vols top duo is not yet ranked

"They controlled the match," Winterbotham said. "JP and Boris are a very good team. We know that. Everybody knows. Because they haven't played all fall, they're not ranked. They're going to play like a No. 1 team throughout the year. They're going to face some great teams and they're going to take some lumps, but they're going to be good."

Notes: The win was Sam Winterbotham's 96th as head coach of the Vols. He is on pace to become the fastest UT tennis coach to reach 100 career wins ... Boris Conkic now has 94 victories in both singles and doubles. He is trying to become the fourth Vol to ever reach 100 wins in both categories ... John-Patrick Smith's win was his 20th of the season. Last year, he finished with a career-best 41 victories.

Tennessee 6, San Diego 1
Singles

1. #1 Rhyne Williams (UT) def. #31 Dean Jackson (SD) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
2. #21 John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. Nikola Bubnic (SD) 6-2, 6-4
3. Tennys Sandgren (UT) def. Patrick Pohlmann (SD) 6-2, 6-2
4. Clarke Spinosa (SD) def. #38 Matteo Fago (UT) 6-4, 6-3
5. Boris Conkic (UT) def. Thibaut Visy (SD) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
6. Edward Jones (UT) def. Nils Schive (SD) 6-1, 6-1

Doubles
1. John-Patrick Smith/Boris Conkic (UT) def. #7 Dean Jackson/Patrick Pohlmann (SD) 8-4
2. Tennys Sandgren/Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Nikola Bubnic/Nils Schive (SD) 8-2
Clarke Spinosa/Thibaut Visy (SD) vs. Edward Jones/Matteo Fago (UT) DNF

Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6,3,4,2,5,1)

 

 

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