March 15, 2011
WACO, Texas -- The very afternoon the Tennessee Volunteers achieved the No. 1 national team ranking for the first time in 21 years, they were upset 4-3 by 31st-ranked Baylor on Tuesday at the Baylor Tennis Center.
The Vols (14-2) lost the doubles point but eventually tied the match 3-3 behind a pair of straight-set wins from sophomores Tennys Sandgren and Rhyne Williams and a three-set victory on court 1 from senior John-Patrick Smith.
With the deciding point in the balance, freshman Jarryd Chaplin was the last player for the Vols on court, playing for the just the fourth time in the singles lineup.
Chaplin, a January addition to the Vols' squad from Sydney, Australia, served the for the match at 6-5 against Julien Bley in the third set but was broken to force a deciding tiebreaker.
Chaplin had a 5-3 lead in a tiebreaker and had a chance to serve it out, but he missed a volley and double faulted to give Bley a 6-5 lead. Bley won the next point to close out a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5) victory to clinch the match for Baylor.
"Jarryd's a first-semester freshman who laid it all out on the line," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "He stepped up. He played big. He went for it. Today, he just came up a little bit short, but he gave a championship effort today."
Shortly before the match started, the Vols moved from second to first in the ITA national rankings, leapfrogging unbeaten Virginia in the computer-calculated rankings. It was the second time the Vols had been ranked No. 1, the last time coming in 1990. Unfortunately for Tennessee, the reign atop the rankings appears it will be short-lived.
After falling behind in doubles, four Vols got a break early to start singles play, and Sandgren rolled to his 12th-consecutive victory to tie the match at 1-1, beating Jordan Rux 6-1, 6-2 on court 3. Baylor tied the match a few seconds later when sophomore Edward Jones was broken and fell 6-2, 6-0 to Kike Grangeiro on court 5.
From there, the remaining matches took a great deal more time. Senior Matteo Fago nearly got back in the match in the second set but lost 6-4, 6-4 to Roberto Maytin on court 4 as the Bears extended their lead to 3-1, just one point from the upset.
"There were a couple guys out there who gave championship effort, which is what we need, but we continue to misfire on at least three courts and one doubles court," Winterbotham said. "Until we solve that and everyone fires at the same time, we're not going to have the success we want to have this year."
In doubles, Smith and Chaplin won their first match at the No. 2 position, but Baylor would take wins on the other two courts. Sandgren and Williams lost to seventh-ranked Peers and Maytin 8-4 on court 1, and Fago and Jones fell to Grangeiro and Bley 8-6 on court 3.
The Vols return home from their three-match, five-day road trip for a Saturday SEC match against Arkansas at Barksdale Stadium. The match is set for 1 p.m., and admission is free.
Baylor 4, Tennessee 3
1. #12 John-Patrick Smith, UT, def. #27 John Peers, BU, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
2. #3 Rhyne Williams, UT, def. Sergio Ramirez, BU, 7-6 (4), 6-0
3. #44 Tennys Sandgren, UT, def. Jordan Rux, BU, 6-1, 6-2
4. #96 Roberto Maytin, BU, def. #51 Matteo Fago, UT, 6-4, 6-4
5. #99 Kike Grangeiro, BU, def. Edward Jones, UT, 6-2, 6-0
6. Julian Bley, BU, def. Jarryd Chaplin, UT, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5)
1. #7 John Peers/Roberto Maytin, BU, def. #38 Tennys Sandgren/Rhyne Williams, UT, 8-4
2. John-Patrick Smith/Jarryd Chaplin, UT, def. Jordan Rux/Sergio Ramirez, BU, 8-3
3. Kike Grangeiro/Julian Bley, BU, def. Matteo Fago/Edward Jones, UT, 8-6
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,5,4,2,1,6).