March 28, 2010
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers kept their unbeaten Southeastern Conference intact on their second road trip of the season Sunday.
The Vols, off to their best SEC start since 1990, won their third conference match away from Knoxville by defeating Arkansas 6-1 at the Dill Indoor Tennis Center.
Once again, the Vols (18-1, 6-0) took the doubles point and three players won in straight sets to seal the win for UT. Junior John-Patrick Smith became the seventh Vol in history to reach 100 career singles wins with a three-set victory on court 1.
Smith and senior Davey Sandgren, ranked first nationally, started off doubles with an 8-2 victory at No. 1, good for their 28th win of the season. A few minutes later, the Vols' fifth-ranked team, Conkic and Williams, won their 16th consecutive match at No. 2 by the same score to clinch the doubles point.
The Vols have now won the doubles point in all 19 matches this season. By comparison, they secured the point in just 18 of 31 matches in 2009.
Once doubles ended, Arkansas briefly tied the match 1-1 when Tennessee senior Matt Brewer retired with an ankle injury in the second set at the No. 5 position. The tie did not hold long, however.
Williams finished first for the Vols for the second consecutive match, winning a quick, 6-1, 6-1 match against Dmitry Lebedev at the No. 3 position. Conkic followed with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 2 to give the Vols a 3-1 lead. Williams and Conkic both improved to 5-1 in SEC matches
Freshman Tennys Sandgren provided the clinching win for the Vols, picking up late breaks in both sets to win 7-5, 7-5.
With the match in Tennessee's hands, Smith made history by defeating No. 49 Chris Nott 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-3. He improved to 31-5 this season.
Fago gave the Vols the 6-1 score when he won 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1 at the No. 6 position. He now has a 6-0 record in SEC play. Tennys Sandgren and Smith also remained unbeaten in conference with a 5-0 record.
Tennessee is now more than halfway finished with the SEC schedule, but three of the five remaining matches are against top 15 opponents: Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss.
The Vols return for a pair of home SEC matches this weekend, facing Ole Miss on Friday at 2 p.m. and Mississippi State on Sunday at 1 p.m.
#2 John-Patrick Smith, UT, def. #49 Christopher Nott, UA, 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-3
#32 Boris Conkic, UT, def. Matt Hogan, UA, 6-1, 6-3
#44 Rhyne Williams, UT, def. Dmitry Lebedev, UA, 6-1, 6-2
Tennys Sandgren, UT, def. Nikolas Zogaj, UA, 7-5, 7-5
Gregoire Lehmann, UA, def. #95 Matt Brewer, UT, 3-6, 1-2 ret.
Matteo Fago, UT, def. Matt Walters, UA, 7-6, 4-6, 6-1
#1 John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren, UT, def. Dmitry Lebedev/Matt Hogan, UA, 8-2
#5 Boris Conkic/Rhyne Williams, UT, def Chris Nott/Nikolas Lebedev, UA, 8-2
Matteo Fago/Edward Jones, UT, def. Micheal Ward/Matt Walters UA, 8-7
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,3,2,4,1,6).