Feb. 19, 2011
SEATTLE -- For the third consecutive year, the Tennessee Volunteers have progressed to the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
Behind three straight-set wins in singles, the third-ranked Vols dealt UCLA its first loss of the season with a 4-1 quarterfinal victory Saturday at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.
Tennessee won the doubles point and picked up victories in singles from Rhyne Williams, Edward Jones and John-Patrick Smith, who clinched the team win by defeating 84th-ranked Amit Inbar 7-5, 6-3 on court 2.
The Vols face Duke in the semifinals Sunday at noon Pacific (3 p.m. Eastern). An interactive live blog of the action will be available at UTSports.com.
For the second time in as many days, Tennessee (8-0) filled in the singles lineup card without 46th-ranked Tennys Sandgren, who did not play because of illness. Once again, the Vols rallied together to advance in the first team tournament of the season.
January newcomer Jarryd Chaplin took Sandgren's place in the doubles lineup with Williams at the No. 2 position and served to clinch the doubles point. Sophomore Taylor Patrick played in the singles lineup for the first time this season on court 6 as the rest of the lineup moved up a position to replace the All-SEC sophomore on court 3.
"We keep stressing at the start of the year that everyone has a role, whether they're supporting the team in Knoxville or they're here in Seattle," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "We're using our whole team. You have to do that. I think today was an example of how close we are as a team and how committed we are to each other."
After clinching the doubles point, the Vols won four of six first sets to start singles. UCLA (8-1) got its lone point on a 6-1, 6-2 win by Adrian Puget over Patrick on court 6 to tie the match 1-1.
Williams, the top-ranked sophomore from Knoxville, put the Vols ahead for good 2-1 on a 6-2, 6-3 win against 63rd-ranked Daniel Kosakowski on court 1.
Jones had lost a close match in straight sets against Georgia the day earlier, but he won his second match playing up at the No. 5 position Saturday. The sophomore from Carmarthen, Wales, took the first-set tiebreaker 7-6 (1) and ran away with the second set 6-1 to give the Vols a 3-1 lead.
"Against an excellent opponent, Ed did what we expect of him," Winterbotham said. "He's a really good player, and I think everyone's starting to realize that now."
A few minutes later, Smith clinched the match on court 2 with the straight-set win against Inbar. The 17th-ranked senior improved to a team-leading 26-7 this season, including 8-0 in dual matches.
The Vols won the doubles point to start the match for the 21st consecutive time behind wins on courts 1 and 2. Conkic and Smith won their seventh consecutive match at the top of the Vols' lineup 8-4. Chaplin had a good career debut in doubles, winning 8-6 on court 2 with Williams.
"Jarryd came in and did a great job, but we expected that," Winterbotham said. "Taylor came in and gave his best effort. Those two guys have experienced something that's going to help us down the road."
To Note: Senior Boris Conkic will go for his 99th career win in singles and doubles Sunday in the semifinals. Only three players have reached the century mark in both categories: John-Patrick Smith, Byron Talbot and Shelby Cannon ... Smith tied Cannon for second on UT's career doubles wins list with 128. He is three wins away from matching Talbot's school record of 131 ... Tennessee and UCLA faced each other in last year's National Indoors quarterfinals, with the Vols winning 4-2.
Tennessee 4, UCLA 1
1. #1 Rhyne Williams (UT) def. #63 Daniel Kosakowski (UCLA), 6-2, 6-4
2. #17 John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. #84 Amit Inbar (UCLA), 7-5, 6-3
3. #68 Matteo Fago (UT) vs. #87 Maxime Tabatruong (UCLA), 7-5, 3-6 DNF
4. #119 Boris Conkic (UT) vs. Clay Thompson (UCLA), 4-6, 4-3 DNF
5. Edward Jones (UT) def. Holden Seguso (UCLA), 7-6 , 6-1
6. Adrien Puget (UCLA) def. Taylor Patrick (UT), 6-1, 6-2
1.#8 Smith/Conkic (UT) def. Brigham/Inbar (UCLA), 8-4
2. Chaplin/Williams (UT) def. Puget/Seguso (UCLA), 8-6
3. Kosakowski/Hardie (UCLA) vs. Jones/Fago (UT), 7-5 DNF
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (6,1,5,2).