May 31, 2010
Sandgren and Smith rallied to take the first set but struggled to hold serve all day, falling to Virginia's Michael Shabaz and Drew Courtney 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-3 in the NCAA Doubles Championship.
The result was eerily similar to the 2009 doubles title match in which Sandgren and Smith lost in three sets to Shabaz and Dominic Inglot.
Sandgren lost serve to start the match, but he and Smith evened up the score later in the set when Shabaz committed four double faults. The Vols later won the tiebreaker 7-4 to take the first set, just like they did last season.
Virginia took control of the next two sets with early breaks in both of them. The 6-foot-5 Courtney was difficult to return all day and closed out the match for Virginia with an ace.
"When we should have jumped on them in the second set, we couldn't get that break," Smith said. "They kind of rolled through the end and played with confidence. Lesson learned is you've got to take care of every service game because in doubles, it's so hard to come back from a break."
Sandgren, whose serve has been his best weapon more often than not, had his serve broken four times Monday.
"My serve really wasn't happening today," said Sandgren, who was playing his final match as a Volunteer. "I felt really tired. It's been a tough two weeks."
Though their season ended with a loss, Sandgren and Smith ended with one of the best doubles seasons in UT history. They are currently ranked third nationally and set the record for doubles victories in a season with a 41-9 record.
In three seasons, Sandgren and Smith won 79 times together, ranked second all time. They earned ITA All-America honors twice in doubles.
For Smith, it was his third NCAA individual championship loss to a Virginia opponent. He lost to Virginia's Somdev Devvarmann in the singles final as a freshman.
NCAA Tennis Championships
Courtney/Shabaz, Virginia, def. Sandgren/Smith (2), 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-3