May 4, 2011
Senior John-Patrick Smith has reached the finals of the NCAA Doubles Championships twice, but this year marks the first time he will enter the field as the No. 1 seed.
He and fellow senior Boris Conkic have been ranked at the top of the national doubles rankings since March 1 and were given the highest seed as a result, the NCAA released Wednesday.
Conkic and Smith will make their first appearance together in the NCAA Doubles Championship, but they do have one national title already under their belt as a pairing. The two teamed up to win the ITA All-American Championships as juniors in 2009.
The NCAA also revealed the singles participant list, and Tennessee has three representatives for the second consecutive season. Sophomore Rhyne Williams was the SEC's automatic qualifier into the field based on his No. 3 ranking and was given the fourth seed in the event. Smith, currently ranked 11th nationally, is a 9-16 seed, marking the third year he has been seeded in singles. Sophomore Tennys Sandgren also landed in the field of 64 with an at-large bid.
By now, Smith is no stranger to the NCAA scene when it comes to the individual tournaments. As a freshman, he entered the singles tournament unseeded and ran a hot streak to the finals where he lost to defending champion and current world No. 70 Somdev Devarrman. He and Davey Sandgren were doubles finalists in 2009 and 2010.
Williams is the most recent national individual champion in college tennis. In November, he captured the singles title at the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in Flushing, N.Y. The Knoxville native beat the top two seeds in the NCAA singles draw, Southern California's Steve Johnson and Virginia's Alex Domijan, on his way to the prestigious indoor title.
Last year, Williams reached the round of 16 at the NCAA tournament.
Sandgren will be making his first main draw appearance in a national collegiate event. The sophomore from Gallatin has been ranked as high as 35th in singles and was the model of consistency in the Vols' lineup this spring. He has a 19-1 dual match record and is 24-2 since January.
The NCAA singles tournament starts on May 25, the day after the final of the team championships. The doubles tournament kicks off May 26. Only the seeding and tournament participants were released Wednesday; the draws for both the singles and doubles events will be released later.
Times Set for Opening Rounds
The Vols were selected Tuesday as the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Team Championships and will serve as one of 16 hosts for the first two rounds of the 64-team event May 13 and 14.
Tennessee will welcome Radford, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech to Barksdale Stadium, and the winner of the two rounds advances to championship site of Palo Alto, Calif., where the last four rounds will be played.
The playing schedule is as follows:
NCAA Tennis Championships: First and Second Rounds
All times Eastern
Friday, May 13
Vanderbilt vs. Virginia Tech, 10 a.m.
Tennessee vs. Radford, 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 14
Vanderbilt/Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee/Radford, 3 p.m.