March 8, 2011
By Amanda Pruitt
Tennessee Media Relations
On the heels of setting Tennessee's career doubles record, senior John-Patrick Smith was named SEC Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Smith finished 2-0 at the top of the Vols' lineup in both singles and doubles as defending SEC champion Tennessee (12-1, 2-0 SEC) opened the conference schedule with home victories over Alabama and Auburn.
The three-time All-America from Townsville, Australia, surpassed Byron Talbot's 23-year-old career doubles wins record when he teamed up with Boris Conkic to capture victory No. 132 on Sunday against Auburn. They broke 43rd-ranked Tim Puetz and Daniel Cochrane at 3-3, and Smith eventually served out the 8-6 record-setter.
Conkic and Smith, who rose to the top of the national doubles rankings last week, are 15-1 together this spring, including 11-0 in dual matches.
In singles, Smith improved to 4-0 at the No. 1 spot in Tennessee's lineup, a position he has assumed the last three matches. Smith was 9-1 last season in SEC play, and he continued that winning trend in the first weekend of conference play, taking two matches in straight sets.
Smith, currently ranked 13th, defeated 23rd-ranked Puetz 6-3, 6-2 to improve to a team-leading 29-9 this season with 15 wins against opponents in the top 125.
In his career, Smith has now won SEC Player of the Week honors eight times. Along his way to earning SEC Player of the Year accolades as a junior last season, he collected the weekly award four times. Conkic was named SEC Player of the Week for the first time earlier this season.
Vols Remain Second
The Vols remained No. 2 in the ITA national team rankings, the collegiate tennis governing organization released Tuesday. Virginia, which defeated the Vols in the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, remained first. Texas is ranked third.
The Vols hit the road this weekend for a rare three-match trip. They play at Kentucky on Friday and Vanderbilt on Sunday, before traveling to Waco, Texas, to face Baylor the following Tuesday. The start time for the Kentucky has been moved up an hour to 2 p.m. Eastern.
John-Patrick Smith's Results
March 4 - Smith def. Ricky Doverspike, Alabama, 6-1, 7-6(2)
March 6 - Smith def. #23 Tim Puetz, Auburn, 6-3, 6-2
Doubles (with Boris Conkic)
March 4 - Conkic/Smith def. Doverspike/Botha, Alabama, 8-2
March 6 - Conkic/Smith def. #43 Puetz/Cochrane, Auburn, 8-6