Feb. 25, 2010
Senior Davey Sandgren is approaching a milestone that has only been achieved twice in Tennessee history.
And junior John-Patrick Smith is not far behind.
With 98 career doubles victories, Sandgren is just two wins away from the 100th in his career. Smith has 90 wins.
Byron Talbot and Shelby Cannon, who were doubles partners for the better part of their four-year careers at UT from 1985-88, are the only Vols to have surpassed 100 career doubles wins. Talbot leads the category with 131 wins, and Cannon has 128.
Sandgren and Smith rose to third in the most recent ITA doubles rankings. That comes as no real surprise, considering they are 21-3 this season and are riding a 10-match winning streak into Sunday's match at No. 20 Wake Forest.
Sixty of Sandgren's 98 victories have come with Smith. They reached the finals of the NCAA National Doubles Championship last season and became the first UT doubles team in nearly 30 years to be named the top doubles team in the final national poll.
There's something to be said for playing all four years in Vol uniform. Sandgren has 78 singles victories; one more would put him in a tie for 15th on the career singles list. The next singles match he plays will be the 150th of his college career.
Countdown from 7
Speaking of 100 wins, that career singles marker looms ever closer for Smith, who notched his 93rd career victory against No. 5 Dimitar Kutrovsky 6-3, 6-4 in the ITA Indoors semifinals against Texas.
Only six Vols in history have cracked 100 wins. He is now eighth on the career wins list, four behind Earl Grainger (1982-84, 86).
Smith, ranked second nationally, is now 24-5 this season and easily 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.
An Even Dozen
Junior Boris Conkic tied his career best by winning his 12th consecutive singles match, defeating UCLA's Holden Seguso 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the ITA Indoors. Conkic still has not lost in 2010, and he started off the year by becoming the sixth Vol to capture the SEC Indoors title.
He did not finish his match during the semifinals and finals of the tournament, so the winning streak remained alive at 12. Smith also had a 12-match winning streak during the fall season.
In recent years, the longest singles winning streak belongs to junior Matteo Fago, who won 16 in a row from Jan. 24 until March 29 last season.
In addition to winning 12 consecutive matches, Conkic is also looking at another rare milestone. Another win 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), Woodruff (.835) and Mike DePalmer Jr. (.829). Those three have a combined seven All-America honors.
Going for 20
Fago is on the hunt to become the third Vol to reach the 20-win milestone this season. That would be a career first for the junior from Ceprano, Italy.
He started his Vol career in the spring of his freshman season and finished 19-7. As a sophomore, he finished 19-12. He currently has a 19-7 record, with 10 of those wins coming since January.
Follow the Action Online
Internet willing, the live blog will be available Sunday when the Vols take on Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. Coverage begins approximately 15 minutes before the noon start time.
It will be the Vols' final match before heading into Southeastern Conference play against Auburn and Alabama.