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Vols Shut Out Baylor in NCAA Quarterfinals
Rhyne Williams

Rhyne Williams
ATHENS, Ga. -- For the sixth time in program history, the Tennessee Volunteers are back in the semifinals of the NCAA Tennis Championships.

The Vols shut out their third opponent of the tournament Sunday, sweeping Baylor 4-0 in the quarterfinals Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex to advance.

They face host Georgia in the semifinals Monday at 5 p.m.

After Matteo Fago and Edward Jones clinched a closely contested doubles point on court 3, the Vols (30-1) took four of six first sets against Baylor. Matt Brewer quickly won his match in straight sets at the fifth position. Boris Conkic and Rhyne Williams followed suit and finished within two minutes of each other on courts 2 and 3 to secure the Tennessee victory.

"I have to give Baylor a big credit today," Conkic said. "I thought this match was much closer than the score showed. It was a close doubles point."

Conkic and Williams, who will be playing in the doubles tournament later this week, jumped ahead at the start against Baylor. They won without much drama 8-1 at the No. 2 position, defeating Atilla Bucko and Jordan Rux to improve to 33-3.

The battle for the doubles point became much tighter after that point. Denes Lukacs and Roberto Maytin got a break from the start on court 1 and defeated John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren 8-6 to tie the doubles point.

Everything came down to court 3, and the Tennessee crowd helped carry Fago and Jones to a late break and an 8-6 victory over Sergio Ramirez and Maros Horny to wrap up the doubles point for UT. Tennessee has won the doubles point in 30 of 31 matches this season.

In singles, the Vols took early leads on four courts. Brewer, back from an ankle injury suffered in late March, was the first to finish for UT, defeating Maytin 6-3, 6-3 to give the Vols a 2-0 lead.

Conkic had defeated Rux in last year's 4-0 victory over Baylor at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, and he won in similar fashion Sunday. Conkic picked up his 29th victory of the season by beating Rux 6-4, 6-2.

Two points later, Williams clinched the match for UT on a break with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Bucko. With the win, Williams improved to 38-6 overall, which ties him with Paul Annacone (1982) for the second-most wins by a UT freshman. The freshman record is 43, set by Peter Handoyo in 1999.

The Vols have now collected a school-record 16 shutouts this season, three of them through the first four rounds of the NCAA tournament. When it comes to dual match points, the Vols have outscored their opponents 16-1.

"What impresses me the most is that the guys who aren't playing are the ones who want to win the most," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "They're out supporting their teammates. We're a close unit right now."

Baylor finished the season 25-7.

Tennessee must now face Georgia, a team that rarely loses on their home courts in front of their many boisterous fans. The Bulldogs reached the semifinals as the No. 11 seed, shutting out unseeded Oklahoma 4-0 in their quarterfinal match.

Georgia has lost twice at home this season in 4-2 losses to Southern California and Ohio State. Tennessee has won three of the last four meetings with Georgia, but the Vols have not defeated Georgia in Athens since 1993.


Doubles

1. #28 Denes Lukacs/Roberto Maytin (BAYLOR) def. #3 Davey Sandgren/John-Patrick Smith (TENNESSEE), 8-6

 2. #12 Rhyne Williams/Boris Conkic (TENNESSEE) def. Attila Bucko/Jordan Rux (BAYLOR), 8-1

3. Edward Jones/Matteo Fago (TENNESSEE) def. Sergio Ramirez/Maros Horny (BAYLOR), 8-6



Singles

1. #1 John-Patrick Smith (TENNESSEE) vs. #14 Denes Lukacs (BAYLOR), 6-7(7), 1-1 DNF

2. #36 Boris Conkic (TENNESSEE) def. #34 Jordan Rux (BAYLOR), 6-4, 6-2

3. #45 Rhyne Williams (TENNESSEE) def. Attila Bucko (BAYLOR), 6-3, 6-2

4. #111 Tennys Sandgren (TENNESSEE) vs. Dominik Mueller (BAYLOR), 4-6, 3-2 DNF

5. #116 Matt Brewer (TENNESSEE) def. Roberto Maytin (BAYLOR), 6-3, 6-3

6. Matteo Fago (TENNESSEE) vs. Julian Bley (BAYLOR), 6-4, 1-3 DNF

Order of Finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (5,2,3).

 

 

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