Feb. 14, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Tennessee Volunteers remember the last meeting with Texas far too well.
The Vols, seeded fifth in last year's NCAA Championships, lost 4-3 in the round of 16 to 12th-seeded Texas. The importance of the doubles point was well demonstrated that day as the Longhorns took the point at the Nos. 1 and 2 positions.
Rematch value is high against Texas. Sunday won't the first go-around between competitors the first two singles positions.
Smith has won both meetings in straight sets with Texas' top singles player, fifth-ranked Dimitar Kutrovsky. Smith most recently defeated Kutrovsky 6-1, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.
Conkic also has the win advantage over Texas' No. 2 man, ninth-ranked Ed Corrie. In their meeting at NCAAs last year, Conkic won 6-2, 6-2.
Projected Lineup vs. Texas
#2 John-Patrick Smith vs. #5 Dimitar Kutrovsky
#68 Boris Conkic vs. #9 Ed Corrie
#22 Rhyne Williams vs. Kellen Damico
Tennys Sandgren vs. Jean Anderson
#52 Matt Brewer vs. #38 Josh Zevala
Matteo Fago vs. #104 Vasko Mladenov
Doubles #7 D. Sandgren/Smith vs. #22 Kutrovsky/Zavala
#12 Conkic/Williams vs. Corrie/Damico
3. Fago/T. Sandgren vs. Anderson/Whitehead
Countdown from 8
The countdown continues for Smith, who remains just eight singles victories away from the 100th in his career after he was his match with UCLA's Haythem Abid remained unfinished. Only six Vols in history have cracked 100 wins.
Smith, ranked second nationally, earned his 92nd win with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the opening round against 43rd-ranked Dennis Nevolo of Illinois. Smith is now 23-4 this season and on pace to surpass his win total of 36 recorded during his sophomore season.
He has been ranked in the ITA top 10 since March 17, 2009. Last season, he vaulted from No. 50 to No. 9 following the Indoor Championships.
An Even Dozen
Conkic tied his career best by winning his 12th consecutive singles match, defeating UCLA's Holden Seguso 6-2, 6-1. Conkic still has not lost in 2010, and he started off the year by becoming the fifth Vol to capture the SEC Indoors title.
Smith had a 12-match winning streak during the fall season.
In addition to winning 12 consecutive matches, Conkic is also looking at another rare milestone. A win today would give him a 76-19 career record.
How's that important? It's a pretty random number to be sure, but that record would up Conkic's career winning percentage to exactly .800 for his career.
Only three Vols have a career percentage better than .800, and their time spent at Tennessee is well-documented: Paul Annacone (.839), Chris Woodruff (.835) and Mike DePalmer Jr. (.829). Those three have a combined seven All-America honors.
Alone at Three
With an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles with Smith on Saturday, Davey Sandgren earned the 96th doubles win of his career, surpassing Pablo Montana (1993-96) for third on the all-time list.
Smith isn't far behind in that category. He has 88 for his career.
Following the Tournament
An interactive, live blog of all the Vols' tournament matches will be available at UTSports.com. Live scoring and a day-by-day tournament schedule can be found at virginiasports.com.