April 14, 2010
Tennessee senior Davey Sandgren completed an undefeated weekend and clinched a key victory over Florida to earn SEC Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.
Thanks to Sandgren's performance over the weekend, the second-ranked Vols (22-1, 10-0) secured at least a share of the SEC regular-season title and have the opportunity to go unbeaten in conference for the first time since 1990.
Sandgren had been out of the singles lineup for nearly two months when he stepped into the sixth position two weeks ago in the place of fellow senior Matt Brewer, who injured his ankle. Since then, Sandgren has been a winner in the Vols lineup with a perfect 4-0 record.
Sandgren came back from one set down to defeat Nassim Slilam 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to clinch the Vols' eventual 4-3 victory against sixth-ranked Florida on the road Friday, a moment he was already quick to call one of the best in his college tennis career.
Two days later, he defeated Johannes Pulsfort 6-1, 5-7, 1-0 (8) as the Vols wrapped up a 6-1 victory at South Carolina.
Sandgren improved to 16-8 this season, including an 8-1 record in dual matches. He has 82 singles victories, tied with teammate Boris Conkic for 13th on Tennessee's career wins list.
In doubles, Sandgren and junior John-Patrick Smith won their matches at the No. 1 position over the weekend to improve to 31-5 this season. Trailing 3-6 to Florida's Antoine Benneteau and Alexandre Lecroix, Sandgren and Smith rallied to win the final five games to win the match 8-6. The Vols went on to win the doubles point, which proved necessary.
The Vols duo also defeated South Carolina's Diego Cubas and Pedro Campos 8-3.
Sandgren and Smith, ranked second nationally, have won 70 matches together, good for third on UT's career list. Sandgren has 108 doubles victories individually, which is third all time.
Tennessee players have earned SEC Player of the Week honors five times this season, with Smith accounting for four of them. Rhyne Williams was named SEC Freshman of the Week earlier this year.
The Vols can capture the SEC regular-season title outright Saturday when they host Georgia in the regular-season finale on Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission is free.