Feb. 13, 2011
The third-ranked Tennessee Volunteers host 13th-ranked Louisville on Monday at the Goodfriend Tennis Center for one final match before the first national tournament of the spring.
The Valentine's Day match starts at 2 p.m. and is free to attend. Fans are encouraged to park in lot N-15. Parking in any other lot could result in a ticket.
A live interactive blog and live scoring of the match are available at UTSports.com.
The Vols (5-0) are coming off their second trip of the season, sweeping 14th-ranked Duke 7-0 on Saturday in Durham, N.C. Tennessee now has two road wins against top-20 opponents, having defeated Illinois the week before.
Tennessee took the doubles point and then clinched the dual match with three wins in the lower half of the lineup. Seniors Matteo Fago and Boris Conkic delivered straight-set wins on courts 4 and 5 before sophomore Edward Jones secured the Vols' victory in three sets on court 6.
The ITA releases its new national individual and team rankings Monday. As a team, the Vols have been ranked third all season. The singles and doubles rankings have not been released since Jan. 4. Going into the Louisville match, three Vols are ranked in singles: Rhyne Williams at No. 1, John-Patrick Smith at No. 21 and Fago at No. 38.
Smith and Conkic are likely to make their season debut in the doubles rankings Monday. The Vols' top pairing is 8-1 this spring with three wins against top-20 opponents. The two were ranked as high as fourth nationally last year though they played only five matches together.
Williams and sophomore Tennys Sandgren have been 5-0 at No. 2 doubles.
National Indoors Later This Week
The new national team rankings will determine seeding for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which start Friday in Seattle. The Vols, who were finalists in the 16-team tournament last season, qualified for the event for the third year by winning two matches at home as part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend last month.
The Cardinals are off to a solid 8-0 start to 2011 and will join the Vols later in the week for the National Indoors. They are coming off a 4-3 home victory over 24th-ranked Oklahoma on Friday.
Louisville is led once again this season by Austen Childs, who is ranked eighth nationally in singles. Viktor Maksimcuk is ranked 75th and Simon Childs is ranked 98th.
Tennessee and Louisville have faced each other five times the last four seasons with the Vols winning all five matchups. UT leads the all-time series 7-1 and won the most recent meeting 4-0 in the round of 16 at the 2010 NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga. Louisville's win in the series came in 2003 in Knoxville.
Good to Be Home
The Vols have won their last 26 matches in Knoxville dating to a non-conference match against Kentucky on Feb. 21, 2010. Since seniors Conkic, Fago and Smith joined the program, the Vols are 46-2 in home dual matches. Smith has won 25 consecutive matches in Knoxville, the longest active streak on the team.
Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham, now in his fifth season, enters Monday with a 99-21 record as head coach of the Vols. With a win, he would become the fourth head coach in program history to reach the century milestone.
2 for 20
Williams recorded his 20th win of the season with a victory over fifth-ranked Reid Carleton of Duke on Saturday. The Knoxville native has an impressive six wins already against top-10 opponents and is 20-4 this season.
Williams joins Smith as the second Vol to reach the 20-win marker. Smith, who collected a hard-fought win against ninth-ranked Henrique Cunha of Duke, leads UT with a 23-7 record. Fago is third on the team with 18 wins and Sandgren has 17.
Conkic enters Monday with 97 career singles and 96 career doubles victories. The senior from Novi Sad, Serbia, is on track to soon become the fourth Vol in history to record 100 singles and 100 doubles wins.
Smith became the third member of that exclusive club last season as a junior and currently has 133 singles wins (4th all-time) and 125 doubles wins (3rd all-time). Byron Talbot and Shelby Cannon, doubles partners and highly ranked singles players from 1985-88, are the other two to accomplish the feat.
Eight and Counting
In addition to nearing career milestones, Conkic also has the Vols' best active winning streak at eight matches. He is 11-1 since returning to the UT lineup this spring.
Smith and Sandgren have both won five matches in a row.
The All-Time Doubles Record
Smith is just six wins away from tying Talbot for first on the Vols' career doubles wins list. Talbot won 131 doubles matches, 102 of them coming with Cannon.
Smith has played all but three of his career dual matches at the No. 1 doubles position and is a two-time finalist at the NCAA Doubles Championships with Davey Sandgren. Forty-five of Smith's 125 doubles victories have come against ranked opponents.
The Doubles Point
Tennessee has won the doubles point in the last 18 matches, including the postseason matches played on the Vols' way to the finals of the 2010 NCAA Championships. The Vols won the doubles point in 32 of 33 matches last season, losing the first point only to Mississippi State.
The Vols have not dropped a singles doubles match in team play this spring. They have won a combined 12 matches and three matches were unfinished.
Fago and Jones, the Vols' No. 3 team, have an active eight-match winning streak together dating back to last season's run at the NCAAs. They were named to the all-tournament team for their performance in the Vols' lineup.