Feb. 1, 2009
Freshman Christian Hansen had the biggest win of his young career Sunday night as his three-set come-from-behind victory clinched eighth-ranked UT's 4-3 victory over Louisville at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center in a match that lasted almost six hours. The win advances UT to the ITA Indoor National Championships which will be played in Chicago Feb. 13-16.
"In a tournament environment it's all about getting those four points," head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "I think the whole team chipped in to get this victory. They kept competing and helped us build momentum on all courts.
"Christian wasn't out there on his own. He was able to concentrate on his match without any added pressure because of his teammates. For him to come through as a freshman, from a set behind, to clinch for the team was great. I'm excited and proud of the confidence he showed on the court."
Hansen dropped the first set in a tiebreaker to Calligari at the No. 5 position. In the second set, Hansen was up 5-1 but let Calligari run off three games before finally winning the set, 6-4. In the third and final set, Hansen took control early as he shot out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back, clinching UT's fourth victory of the season, 6-7, 6-4,6-2.
The Vols lost the doubles point for the first time this season as they fell at the No. 2 and 3 positions. UT struck first in doubles winning at the No. 1 position with Davey Sandgren and John-Patrick Smith, 8-5 over Austen Childs and Simon Childs. The Cardinals countered moments later when Robert Hall and Viktor Maksimcuk took down UT's Christian Hansen and Tweedt, 8-4.
The point came down to a battle at No. 2 between Tennessee's 21st-ranked Boris Conkic and Matteo Fago and Louisville's 44th-ranked Alejandro Calligari and Robert Rotaru. The Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead but UT cameback to tie the match at seven. In the tiebreaker, UT once again found itself in a hole, falling behind 5-1. UT battled back to within 6-5 but could not come all the way back ultimately falling 9-8(7-5).
"I think the team learned how hard it is to win a dual-match without the doubles point," Winterbotham said. "Louisville gave us everything they had and they came in and took the doubles point from us. It was a great test for us and I think we will benefit greatly from having played this match."
The Big Orange regrouped nicely as they won the first set in four of the six singles matches.
Fago rebounded from his tough doubles loss to defeat Hall, 6-3, 6-0 at the No. 4 position. Fago is 3-0 in dual-match this season.
The Cards went back in front 2-1 with Maksimcuk's 7-5, 6-3 win over Sandgren at the No. 3 position.
John-Patrick Smith tied the match again with a 6-4, 6-2 win over 47th-ranked Austen Childs. Smith continues to stay red hot in 2009. The 2008 SEC Freshman of the Year is 8-0 in singles in 2009 and 7-1 in doubles.
Conkic put the Vols in front for the first time of the day with a straight-set win over 65th-ranked Simon Childs at the No. 2 position. Conkic cruised in the first set 6-2 and was leading the second set 5-2 before Childs ran off four straight games to take the lead in the second 6-5. Conkic battled back to force a tiebreaker and in the tiebreaker held off Childs to win.
With the match already decided, Rotaru scored the Cardinals final point as he battled back from a one-set deficit to defeat Tweedt at the No. 6 position.
UT returns to action Feb. 7 when it travels to Champaign, Ill., to take on 13th-ranked Illinois at 7 p.m.
|No. 8 Tennessee 4, No. 43 Louisville 3|
|1.||No. 50 John-Patrick Smith (UT)||def.||No. 47 Austen Childs (UL)||6-4, 6-2|
|2.||No. 103 Boris Conkic (UT)||def.||No. 65 Simon Childs (UL)||6-2, 7-6(3)|
|3.||Viktor Maksimcuk (UL)||def.||Davey Sandgren (UT)||7-5, 6-3|
|4.||Matteo Fago (UT)||def.||Robert Hall (UL)||6-3, 6-0|
|5.||Robert Rotaru (UL)||def.||Jeremy Tweedt (UT)||2-6, 7-6, 7-6|
|6.||Christian Hansen (UT)||def.||Alejandro Calligari (UL)||6-7, 6-4, 6-2|
|Order of Finish: 4,3,1,2,6,5|
|1.||Sandgren/Smith (UT)||def.||Childs/Childs (UL)||8-5|
|2.||No. 44 Calligari/Rotaru (UL)||def.||No. 21 Conkic/Fago (UT)||9-8(5)|
|3.||Hall/Maksimcuk (UL)||def.||Hansen/Tweedt (UT)||8-4|
|Order of Finish: 1,3,2|