March 21, 2009
The fourth-ranked Tennessee men's tennis team advanced to the finals of the Blue Gray Tennis Classic Saturday by defeating Auburn, 4-2 at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center in Montgomery, Ala. The Vols play Alabama in the championship match Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
"I thought our guys competed very well today," head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "I'm proud of the No. 3 doubles team. Matt and Bryan stepped up today. Christian played great today and really rebounded from a tough day yesterday. I'm proud of the determination he showed.
"Alabama is a strong team that is top-10 caliber. We're excited for the finals and ready to go but we know that we'll have to play great to win."
Tennessee (12-3) won the doubles point for the third time in four matches to take the early advantage. UT won at the No. 2 and 3 positions to win the point and take the 1-0 lead. Boris Conkic and Matteo Fago defeated Lukas Marsoun and Alex Stamchev, 8-6 at the No. 2 slot for their fifth consecutive victory. Matt Brewer and Bryan Swartz won at the No. 3 position over Milan Krnjetin and Alex Petropoulos, 8-5.
The Vols won the first set in four of six singles matches to build on their momentum from doubles.
John-Patrick Smith rebounded from a tough doubles setback to win at No. 1 singles. The UT sophomore defeated 44th-ranked Alexey Tsyrenov, 6-3, 6-1 to give the Vols a 2-0 lead.
Fago gave UT a 3-0 lead with a win at the No. 3 position. The Italy native is now 14-0 this season in dual-match play after defeating Marsoun, 6-1, 6-4 Saturday.
Auburn (9-5) would not go quietly though as the Tigers would make a run to cut into Tennessee's lead.
Stamchev defeated Davey Sandgren at the No. 4 position and Krnjetin won at No. 5 over Brewer to cut UT's lead to 3-2.
The Vol's lone freshman in the singles lineup, Christian Hansen, ended Auburn's run with a win at No. 6 over Petropoulos to give UT its 12th victory of the season.
This marks the third match this season that the Germany native stepped up in the clutch for the Vols. Hansen also has match clinching victories over Louisville and Mississippi State.
Sunday's championship match against 24th-ranked Alabama is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET. Live scoring can be found at UTsports.com.
No. 4 Tennessee 4, No. 30 Auburn 2
|1.||No 7 John-Patrick Smith (UT)||def.||No. 44 Alexey Tsyrenov (Aub)||6-3, 6-1|
|2.||No. 25 Boris Conkic (UT)||tied||No. 106 Tim Puetz (Aub)||6-3, 6-7 DNF|
|3.||Matteo Fago (UT)||def.||Lukas Marsoun (Aub)||6-1, 6-4|
|4.||Alex Stamchev (Aub)||def.||Davey Sandgren (UT)||6-4, 5-7, 6-1|
|5.||Milan Krnjetin (Aub)||def.||Matt Brewer (UT)||7-6, 6-3|
|6.||Christian Hansen (UT)||def.||Alex Petropoulos (Aub)||7-6, 6-3*|
|Order of Finish: 1,3,5,4,6|
|1.||No. 10 Puetz/Tsyrenov (Aub)||def.||No. 8 Sandgren/Smith (UT)||8-5|
|2.||Conkic/Fago (UT)||def.||Marsoun/Stamchev (Aub)||8-6|
|3.||Brewer/Swartz (UT)||def.||Krnjetin/Petropoulos (Aub)||8-5|