May 24, 2009
College Station, Texas - Playing for the first NCAA Doubles Championship since Rodney Harmon and Mel Purcell took home the title in 1980, University of Tennessee's John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren endured a two-hour mid-match rain delay before sailing through the semifinals at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
As the only surviving seeded team, No. 2 Tennessee (32-11) posted its 12th victory in its last 14 matches, 6-4, 6-2, over 10th-ranked Tim Puetz and Alexey Tsyrenov of Auburn. The Auburn duo is the 13th consecutive ranked opponent the Volunteers have faced, including the eighth rated in the top 20 during that span. In addition, the 32 wins are the third most in a season by a Tennessee doubles team, while their 39 career victories rank sixth all-time in school history.
The Vols play the 12th-ranked Virginia duo of Dominic Inglot and Michael Shabaz who defeated 17th-ranked Clay Donato and Taylor Fogleman of North Carolina, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, Monday at 11 a.m. ET. The Virginia pair defeated Smith and Sandgren, 8-5, in the first week of the season back in September at the UVA Ranked 1-1 Tournament in Charlottesville, Va.
A link to live video and results can be found at www.utsports.com.
"I thought we started off really strong. We came out really fired up and ready to go," said Sandgren. "We got an early break and served well throughout the rest of the first set. We had a couple of break points off of my serve, came out big and played really well. The (hour and a half) rain delay sort of cooled everything off. Then, he (Auburn's Tim Puetz) pulled his groin in the first game that he was serving, so it was sort of anticlimactic for us. He seemed to go for his shots a lot more, especially on the returns. To his credit, he was able to get through it. He tried to move a lot in doubles, tried to cross a lot, tried to set the baseline and he tried to push back. He competed well (despite his injury)."
It didn't take long for the Vols to get the first break of the match, only three games in; Tennessee was able to get on top. It went up 15-0 and played point-for-point to go up 40-30 before capturing the game and a 2-1 lead.
The Vols nearly went up two break points in the first during the seventh game, leading 30-15 but Auburn was able to fight back to keep it, 4-3. The Tigers nearly got their break back the next game, leading 30-0 before the Vols were able to force deuce once before holding serve at 5-3.
With Smith serving, he reeled off four straight winners, including a smashing ace up the centerline to clinch the first set.
Things got a bit wild in the second set as each side broke each other four times through the first five games. Tennessee led 2-0 before the rain and came back after the delay to break Auburn's first two service games en route to the 4-1 advantage.
The Tigers were unable to create any further breaks over the final three games as Smith served out for the match with four straight winners.
NCAA Doubles Championships Results/Schedule
Doubles (Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings listed in parenthesis)
May 21 John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren def. Jordan Rux/David Galic, Baylor (13) -- 6-4,6-2
May 22 John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren def. Kean Feeder/James Meredith, Boise State (43) -- 6-3,7-5
May 23 John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren def. Steve Forman/Cory Parr, Wake Forest (6) -- 6-3,6-7(4),6-3
May 24 John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren def. Alexey Tsyrenov/Tim Puetz, Auburn (10) - 6-4, 6-2
Monday, May 25
11 a.m. ET - (2) John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren, Tennessee vs. Dominic Inglot/Michael Shabaz, Virginia