March 12, 2010
After more than a month playing on the road, the second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers picked up right where they left off on a rainy Friday afternoon in Knoxville.
Tennessee defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 6-1 to earn its third Southeastern Conference victory and remain unbeaten in eight home matches this season.
The match was delayed a few minutes when an approaching thunderstorm forced the match inside to Goodfriend Tennis Center, but once competition was underway, the Vols (14-1, 3-0 SEC) quickly took the momentum and the doubles point.
"The guys were ready," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "They were prepared, came out and executed. I couldn't have asked for more."
Senior Davey Sandgren and junior John-Patrick Smith won their 24th match of the season in a lopsided 8-1 victory over Alex Zotov and Adam Baker at the No. 1 position. Junior Matteo Fago and freshman Edward Jones followed not long after with an 8-3 win at No. 3.
Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham was pleased with how his team established early leads in both doubles and the singles that followed. The Vols won the first set on three of the four courts to begin singles.
"We carried over the momentum from doubles," Winterbotham said. "As coaches, we're always proud of these guys, how hard they work. It's good to see when they put it all together in that match."
Conkic finished first for the Vols, extending his SEC dual match winning streak to 12 matches. He defeated Bryant Salcedo 6-0, 6-4 at the No. 2 position and has won 15 of 16 matches this spring. Freshman Tennys Sandgren ended his match second with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 4 against Alex Zotov.
Smith clinched the match for the Vols against No. 48 Ryan Lipman. Smith eventually won the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6 before winning the second set 6-4. He improved to a team-leading 27-5, with 17 of those wins coming against ranked opponents. Friday's win was the 96th in his career.
The Vols also got wins from senior Matt Brewer at No. 5 and Fago at No. 6. Williams took the only loss for Tennessee, falling to Vijay Paul for the second time this season.
The Vols host another top-10 opponent Sunday when No. 6 Kentucky arrives in Knoxville. The match begins at 1 p.m.
Kentucky (11-5, 2-1) had a three-point lead but lost to Georgia 4-3 on Friday night in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs won the match thanks largely to the second half of their lineup; the last four positions produced all the points for Georgia.
Last year, Kentucky defeated Tennessee twice during the regular season, but the Vols grabbed a 4-2 win against the Wildcats in the quarterfinals of the SEC Championships.
The Vols are hosting a USTA Kid's Day on Sunday, with events taking place for two hours before the match against Kentucky.
Winterbotham and the UT staff will hold a free youth tennis clinic from 11 a.m. until noon. Tennessee hosts a Kid's Carnival from noon until the match's 1 p.m. start time. All children in attendance will receive a poster autographed by players, as well as a voucher for a free hot dog and drink.
1. #2 John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. #48 Ryan Lipman (VU) 7-6, 6-4
2. #32 Boris Conkic (UT) def. Bryant Salcedo (VU) 6-0, 6-4
3. Vijay Paul (VU) def. #51 Rhyne Williams (UT) 6-4, 6-4
4. Tennys Sandgren (UT) def. Alex Zotov (VU) 6-3, 6-3
5. #88 Matt Brewer (UT) def. Adam Baker (VU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Matteo Fago (UT) def. Charlie Jones (VU) 6-3, 6-2
1. #2 John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren (UT) def. Alex Zotov/Adam Baker (VU) 8-1
2. #5 Boris Conkic/Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Ryan Lipman/Bryant Salcedo (VU) 8-3
3. Edward Jones/Matteo Fago (UT) def. Vijay Paul/James Moye (VU) 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,4,3,1,5,6)