March 26, 2011
BATON ROUGE, La. - Different players have led the second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers on different days.
On Saturday, it was the top of the lineup's turn to keep the Vols squarely in the hunt for a consecutive Southeastern Conference title.
With the Vols leading 3-1, Williams retained his composure throughout a second-set tiebreaker to beat Neal Skupski 6-4, 7-6 (4) on court 2 to clinch the team victory.
""I feel sometimes I'm redundant saying this, but every time you travel on the road in the SEC, it's just so tough," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "I can't understate that, the importance going into a hostile environment against a really good team that needs a win and being able to take that victory back to Knoxville."
The Vols (16-2, 6-0 SEC) remained perfect in conference just past the halfway point in the SEC schedule with the win and stayed tied for first in the standings with 11th-ranked Georgia, which defeated Arkansas on Saturday.
After the Vols took the doubles point, Smith put the Vols up 2-0 with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Olivier Borsos on court 1. Sandgren followed with his 14th consecutive win, beating Stefan Szacinski 6-3, 6-1 on court 3 to put the Vols up 3-0.
Freshman Jarryd Chaplin, who was inserted in the singles lineup at the No. 6 position, dropped a 6-3, 7-6 match to Julien Gauthier as Williams' match was winding down on court 2.
Williams served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but was broken by Skupski. With the home crowd backing Skupski, Williams did not waver afterwards as the match lapsed into a tiebreaker two games later, winning 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Winterbotham Remains Upbeat
"I still feel that the best is yet to come," Winterbotham said. "We're not yet firing on all cylinders. I've been saying that for awhile. I'm seeing glimpses of where we're finally coming together. We keep trying, we keep competing and fortunately, in the SEC, we continue to win."
In doubles, Conkic and Smith got the Vols off to a fast start. The nation's No. 1 pairing collected their fifth victory over a top-15 team this season, defeating 12th-ranked Skupski and Sebastian Carlsson 8-3.
Sandgren and Wiliams clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 win over Szacinski and Roger Anderson on court 2.
The Vols hit the road again next weekend for a pair of key matches against Mississippi State and Mississippi.
To Note: John-Patrick Smith and Boris Conkic improved to 17-1 this season in doubles, including 4-0 in SEC play. They have won 13 consecutive matches. ... Smith won his seventh consecutive match at the No. 1 position and is 5-0 in the SEC ... Sandgren is now 16-0 in his career in SEC dual matches. He has a 26-4 record as a sophomore ... The Vols have won their last 17 SEC matches.
1. #12 John-Patrick Smith, UT, def. Olivier Borsos, LSU, 6-3, 6-3
2. #3 Rhyne Williams, UT, def. #91 Neal Skupski, LSU, 6-4, 7-6 (4)
3. #44 Tennys Sandgren, UT, def. Stefan Szacinski, LSU, 6-3, 6-1
4. Mark Bowtell, LSU, def. #51 Matteo Fago, UT, 6-7, 6-2, 1-0 (9)
5. Sebastian Carlsson, LSU, def. Boris Conkic, UT, 6-4, 7-6 (0)
6. Julien Gauthier, LSU, def. Jarryd Chaplin, UT, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
1. #1 Boris Conkic/John-Patrick Smith, UT, def. #12 Sebastian Carlsson/Neal Skupski, LSU, 8-3
2. #38 Tennys Sandgren/Rhyne Williams, UT, def. Roger Anderson/Stefan Szacinski, LSU, 8-6
3. Julien Gauthier/Olivier Borsos, LSU, def. Matteo Fago/Edward Jones, UT, 8-7
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,3,6,2).