May 20, 2009
College Station, Texas - The NCAA Singles Championship got into full swing as Tennessee's John-Patrick Smith advanced, but Boris Conkic fell in three sets in their first-round matches at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
Smith, the tournament's No. 6 seed, won his eighth-straight match to tie his career-best winning streak, 6-3, 6-1, over 20th-ranked Jean-Yves Aubone of Florida State. Smith (35-10) improves to 6-1 all-time in NCAA tournament action after reaching the finals of year's championship.
"I knew it was going to be a tough match," said Smith. "Jean-Yves (Aubone) is ranked 20th, so he just missed out of being seeded. The last time we played, it was 7-6 in the third set and I got up. He is a junior now and has been ranked in the top 10 this season. I know it's always going to be a grind when we play each other."
Smith faces a tough test in North Carolina's Clay Donato, ranked No. 32, in the round of 32 Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Donato beat home-standing and 47th-ranked Austin Krajicek of Texas A&M, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(4).
Playing his sixth top-20 opponent in the last seven matches, Smith won the first game in the first set, then fell behind 2-1 before winning the next four to take a commanding 5-2 lead. In the second set, he dropped the first game before reeling off six straight winners to clinch the match.
It was an epic battle, but Elon's 86th-ranked Damon Gooch defeated the No. 37 Conkic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. In the first set, Conkic (29-9) built a lead of 2-0 before going up 5-2. Gooch then broke his serve and won the next two games to put on the pressure. Conkic regrouped and served out to win the first set.
Both the second and third sets played out the exact same way. Tied 3-3 in both sets, Conkic broke Gooch's serve to take a 4-3 lead, only to see Gooch break his serve twice in the final three games to win 6-4 each time.
Tennessee's No. 2-seeded doubles team of Smith and Davey Sandgren (28-11) see their first action on Thursday against 18th-ranked David Galic and Jordan Rux of Baylor at approximately 3 p.m. ET.
The winner of that match faces the winner of Alabama's Daniel Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau, ranked 23rd, and Boise State's 43rd-ranked duo of Kean Feeder and James Meredith match on Friday in the round of 16. Sandgren and Smith beat the Alabama pair 8-5 on April 3 in a dual match.
Live results can be found at www.utsports.com.
NCAA Singles/Doubles Championships Results/Schedule
Wednesday, May 20
Singles (seeds listed in parenthesis)
(6) John-Patrick Smith, Tennessee def. Jean-Yves Aubone, Florida State -- 6-3, 6-1
Damon Gooch, Elon def. Boris Conkic, Tennessee -- 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Thursday, May 21
12:30 p.m. ET (6) John-Patrick Smith, Tennessee vs. Clay Donato, North Carolina
Doubles (seeds listed in parenthesis)
Not before 3 p.m. ET (2) John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren, Tennessee vs. David Galic/Jordan Rux, Baylor