May 27, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. -- Tennessee freshman Rhyne Williams took another step in his first NCAA singles tournament, winning his second match Thursday to reach the round of 16.
Williams picked up a late break in the first set and rolled quickly in the second, defeating Marcelo Arevalo of Tulsa 7-5, 6-1 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Williams is now the only Vol remaining in the singles draw. Junior Boris Conkic battled to win the first set under the midday heat in Athens, but eventually lost 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to 15th-ranked Bradley Klahn of Stanford.
By reaching the round of 16, Williams will earn ITA All-America honors at season's end. He has a 41-6 record in his first year as a Vol and has won his last 17 matches. The UT freshman record for wins in a season is 43, set by Peter Handoyo in 2002.
Although he lost in the first round, John-Patrick Smith will become Tennessee's sixth three-time All-America because he was seeded third in the tournament. No Vol has ever been All-America four times, and Smith has a chance to do just that next season.
Survive and Advance
No one would describe Smith and Davey Sandgren's first-round doubles match as the best they've ever played, but it was enough to progress to the round of 16.
They got timely breaks in the second and third sets to defeat William and Mary's Keziel Juneau and Sebastien Vidal 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in one of the final matches of the evening.
With the victory, Sandgren and Smith improved to 38-8. They are 5-1 in their career in matches played in the three-set format, rather than the typical eight-game pro set. Last season, they reached the championship match.
The doubles season ended for Conkic and Williams, however, who lost 6-2, 6-2 to Stanford's Klahn and Ryan Thacher.
Conkic and Williams' final 34-4 record ranks as fourth most in a season in UT history. Surprisingly, two of their four losses came to Klahn and Thacher.
By picking up their 38th win, Sandgren and Smith tied Byron Talbot and Shelby Cannon's 1987 total for second most. Talbot and Cannon also won a record 40 matches in 1986.
Williams faces Auburn's Tim Puetz in Friday's round on 16. Puetz played No. 1 in the singles lineup for the Tigers and is ranked No. 16 nationally by the ITA. For what it's worth, Smith defeated Puetz 6-3, 6-4 during the SEC season.
The match is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
Sandgren and Smith continue play in the doubles draw against Oklahoma State's Oleksandr Nedovyesov and Aleksey Bessonov at 4 p.m. Smith and Conkic defeated the Oklahoma State pair to capture the ITA All-American Championships in October.
Round of 16
Rhyne Williams, UT, vs. Tim Puetz, Auburn, 11:30 a.m.
Round of 32
Sandgren/Smith (2), UT, def. Juneau/Vidal, William and Mary, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
Klahn/Thacher, Stanford, def. Conkic/Williams, UT, 6-2, 6-2
Round of 16
Sandgren/Smith (2), UT, vs. Nedovyesov/Bessonov, Oklahoma State, 4 p.m.