May 15, 2010
The Tennessee Volunteers started the NCAA Championships by logging their fourth consecutive shutout, sweeping Winthrop 4-0 at Barksdale Stadium on Saturday.
The second-seeded Vols (27-1) had not played a match since defeating Florida 4-0 to win the SEC Tournament on April 25, but they showed little signs of rust in their first-round match.
Tennessee claimed the doubles point and then got two 6-0, 6-0 victories from John-Patrick Smith and Rhyne Williams to take a 3-0 lead. Matt Brewer, playing in his first match since late March, clinched the shutout with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Guy Kubi on court 5.
"It's always good to get that first win under your belt, especially after three weeks of waiting," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "The guys are ready. The practice yesterday was pretty impressive in how poor it was. They were tired of practicing."
The Vols face Atlantic Sun champion East Tennessee State in the second round Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of the match will join 15 other schools at the championship site in Athens, Ga., and play May 21 at 3 p.m.
Williams and junior Boris Conkic picked up their 32nd victory of the season with a fast 8-2 victory on court 2. Smith and senior Davey Sandgren, who are seeded second in the NCAA doubles tournament, clinched the point by defeating Sergey Belov and Daniel Daudt 8-5.
Smith starting things off quickly in singles for the Vols, blanking Belov 6-0, 6-0 on court 1. It was Smith's first shutout of the season and his 39th win of the season.
Williams followed suit on court 3 with his first shutout and victory No. 35 of his freshman season. He defeated Liran Levy 6-0, 6-0 to give the Vols a 3-0 lead.
They can run matches like that," Winterbotham said. "They've done really well the last few weeks in practices and they were ready to go. I was impressed."
Brewer had been sidelined after suffering an ankle sprain March 28 against Arkansas but remained in the national rankings at No. 116. He was ready to play Saturday, however, and beat Winthrop's Guy Kubi 6-4, 6-3 to clinch the match 4-0.
Tennessee has recorded a school-record 14 shutouts this season.
1. #1 John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. Sergey Belov (WU) 6-0, 6-0
2. #36 Boris Conkic (UT) vs. Nadav Ruppin (WU) 6-4, 5-0, unfinished
3. #45 Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Liran Levy (WU) 6-0, 6-0
4. #111 Tennys Sandgren (UT) vs. Dejon Bivens (WU) 6-4, 2-0, unfinished
5. #116 Matt Brewer (UT) def. Guy Kubi (WU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Davey Sandgren (UT) vs. Daniel Daudt (WU) 6-4, 4-1, unfinished
1. John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren (UT) def. Sergey Belov/Daniel Daudt (WU) 8-5
2. Boris Conkic/Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Nadav Ruppin/Guy Kubi (WU) 8-2
3. Edward Jones/Matteo Fago (UT) vs. Liran Levy/Dejon Bivens (WU) 7-1, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (1,3,5)