April 1, 2010
The third-ranked Tennessee Volunteers have hosted only one outdoor match this season, but the weather finally promises to hold out this weekend as Mississippi and Mississippi State travel to Knoxville.
The Vols (18-1, 6-0) play No. 16 Mississippi on Friday at 2 p.m. at UT Varsity Courts. Tennessee then hosts No. 47 Mississippi State on Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission to both Southeastern Conference matches is free.
A live, interactive blog as well as live scoring of both matches will be available at UTSports.com.
Good to Be Home
The Vols are 11-0 at home this season, but between cold weather and untimely rain, 10 of them played indoors at Goodfriend Tennis Center. Their only outdoor match was a 7-0 victory against LSU on March 21.
Knoxville has been a stronghold for the Vols the last few seasons. Head coach Sam Winterbotham, now in his fourth season, is 17-3 in home conference matches. The Vols have defeated three top-15 teams at home this year: Illinois (6-1), Kentucky (6-1) and Louisville (7-0).
Last season, Tennessee finished 11-1 at home.
Last Time Out
The Vols traveled to Fayetteville and defeated Arkansas 6-1 on Sunday. Tennessee won the doubles point for the 19th time this season and clinched the match with straight-set victories by freshman Rhyne Williams at No. 3, junior Boris Conkic at No. 2 and freshman Tennys Sandgren at No. 4.
Whattabout Ole Miss?
No. 16 Mississippi (13-3, 4-2) is coming off a 4-3 home loss to No. 6 Florida. The Gators won the doubles point, then split with Mississippi in singles.
Get 100 and Win a Prize
On Sunday, Smith became the seventh Vol in history to record 100 career singles victories by defeating No. 49 Chris Nott of Arkansas. A few days later, he earned his fourth SEC Player of the Week honor of the season and the sixth of his career. He leads the league in weekly honors in 2010.
Smith has a 31-5 singles record this season.
With his 100th singles victory now in the books, Smith is fast approaching another milestone: 100 doubles wins.
Smith enters Friday's match with 97 doubles wins. Only two players in UT history have achieved 100 wins in both categories: Byron Talbot (161 singles, 131 doubles) and Shelby Cannon (140 singles, 128 doubles). A few weeks ago, senior Davey Sandgren became the third UT player to achieve 100 doubles wins. He now has 105.
Conkic reached the top-15 singles list over the weekend. He is now tied with associate head coach Chris Woodruff (1992-93) and Fabio Silberberg (1989-91) for 13th with 81 wins.
Already on the List
Smith and Sandgren, ranked second nationally, moved into seventh for most doubles victories in a season after logging win No. 28 against Arkansas on Sunday.
The UT record for doubles wins in a year is 40, set by Shelby Cannon and Byron Talbot in 1986. Including every possible postseason match, Smith and Sandgren have a maximum of 19 matches to win 12 more times and tie the record.
Alive at 16
Conkic and Williams, ranked fifth, enter today's match with a 16-match doubles winning streak intact. They have a 25-2 record this year and rose to fourth in this week's rankings.
The Vols have won the doubles point in all 19 matches this season, and Tennessee's top two doubles teams have been a big reason why. Sandgren and Smith at No. 1 and Conkic and Williams at No. 2 are a combined 31-1 in dual matches this season.
Five a First
For the first time in Winterbotham's career at UT, five Vols are simultaneously in the ITA national singles rankings. Freshman Tennys Sandgren, who joined the Vols in January, debuted on the list at No. 111, joining Smith (No. 2), Conkic (No. 26), Williams (No. 49) and senior Matt Brewer (No. 112).
The SEC season is more than halfway finished, and three Vols remain undefeated in conference play. Fago leads the way with a 6-0 record. As a freshman, he became the first Vol in 15 years to go a perfect 11-0 in SEC dual matches, and he is on pace to do that again. During his career, he is 24-2 in the SEC.
Smith and Tennys Sandgren are both 5-0.