March 3, 2010
Tennessee junior John-Patrick Smith was named SEC Player of the Week after his winning performance in singles and doubles Sunday against Wake Forest.
Smith has been SEC Player of the Week twice this season and four times in his career. He previously earned the honors after helping lead the Vols to the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in mid-February.
Smith's victories Sunday helped propel the second-ranked Vols (11-1) back for a 4-3 comeback victory against No. 20 Wake Forest.
He teamed up with senior Davey Sandgren to defeat 12th-ranked Iain Atkinson and Steve Forman 8-5 in No. 1 doubles as UT won the doubles point. Smith and Sandgren, who have moved up to second in this week's national ITA rankings, have won 11 consecutive matches together and improved to 22-3.
The Vols won the doubles point but fell behind quickly at the outset of singles play. Wake Forest won four first sets and eventually took a 3-1 lead, just one point shy of the upset.
Senior Matt Brewer helped turn the tide with a three-set win at No. 5 to bring the Vols back 3-2. Smith tied things up 15 minutes later with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win against No. 73 Tripper Carleton at the No. 1 position. It was Carleton's first loss since joining Wake Forest in January.
Junior Matteo Fago finished things off for the Vols with a quick 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 6.
Smith, currently ranked No. 4 in singles, has a 25-5 singles record, with 15 of those wins coming against ranked opponents.
The two-time All-America is approaching some rarely-crossed milestones. He has 94 singles and 91 doubles wins in his third season in Vol uniform. Only six Vols have 100 career singles wins and just two have 100 in doubles.
Smith was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2008, and he has been a first-team All-SEC as a freshman and sophomore. He also picked up two SEC Freshman of the Week honors his first year with the Vols.
The Vols hit the road to open SEC play this weekend, facing No. 56 Auburn on Friday at 3 p.m. and No. 25 Alabama on Sunday at 2 p.m. A live, interactive blog will be available for both matches at UTSports.com.