The eighth-ranked Tennessee men’s tennis team wasted little time on Sunday in dispatching 30th-ranked Virginia Tech, 4-0, as the Vols advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005. UT was dominate in the first and second rounds as it won all four doubles matches and did not drop a set in any singles matches.
“This was just a great team performance,” head coach Sam Winterbotham said. “We had different guys step up all weekend. (Associate head coach) Chris (Woodruff) and I are proud of how the guys are working for each other and how they are representing our great university.”
The Vols (23-3) beat Virginia Tech (16-9) in the regular season but struggled against the Hokies winning by a final score of 4-3. Virginia Tech was one of only four teams this season that was able to beat UT for the doubles point.
UT reversed the doubles outcome on Sunday as UT won at the No. 1 and 3 positions to take the early 1-0 lead. Kaden Hensel and J.P. Smith, ranked fourth in the most recent ITA doubles poll, defeated Brandon Corace and Pedro Graber 8-2 at the No. 1 slot for UT’s first win. The Vols clinched the point when Boris Conkic and Matteo Fago defeated Sebastien Jacques and Yoann Re 8-3 at the No. 3 position. Jacques and Re were 18-3 at that position coming into the match.
The Big Orange is now 21-0 this season when they win the doubles point.
Tennessee did not let the Hokies off the mat when singles started as UT won the first set in all four singles matches to take firm control of the match.
Conkic gave the Vols a 2-0 lead when he defeated Re 7-5, 6-1 at the No. 3 position. The UT freshman is 16-4 this season at the No. 3 position in the lineup and is tied with Smith for the team lead with 28 singles wins.
Smith gave UT a 3-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Nicolas Delgado de Robles at the No. 2 position. Smith, ranked 24th, had control of the match from the very beginning and never let the Hokie netter get any sort of momentum in the match. The UT freshman from Australia is 28-9 this season in singles and 14-2 at the No. 2 position.
Sandgren clinched the match for Tennessee with a straight-set win over Graber at the No. 4 slot. The victory was Sandgren’s 21st of the season and improves him to 10-6 this season at the No. 4 position in the lineup.
Hensel was serving to win his match when Sandgren clinched the match for UT. Tennessee’s lone senior was leading Albert Larregola 6-3, 5-4.
The match was played inside the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center because of windy conditions in the Knoxville area.
Tennessee is one of 16 teams that will travel to Tulsa, Okla., for the conclusion of the NCAA tournament. The rest of the tournament will be played at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center and be hosted by University of Tulsa. The Vols will face ninth-seed Baylor at 1 p.m. ET. Live scoring for the match can be found at UTsports.com.
|No. 8 Tennessee 4, No. 30 Virginia Tech 0|
|1. No. 35 Kaden Hensel (UT) led No. 45 Albert Larregola (VT)||6-3, 5-4|
|2. No. 24 J.P. Smith (UT) def. Nicolas Delgado (VT)||6-2, 6-3|
|3. No. 93 Boris Conkic (UT) def. Yoann Re (VT)||7-5, 6-1|
|4. Davey Sandgren (UT) def. Pedro Graber (VT)||6-4, 7-6(3)*|
|5. Matteo Fago (UT) vs. Sebastien Jacques (VT)||DNS|
|6. Jeremy Tweedt (UT) vs. Brandon Corace (VT)||DNS|
|Order of Finish: 3,2,4|
|1. No. 4 Hensel/Smith (UT) def. Corace/Graber (VT)||8-2|
|2. Delgado/Larregola (VT) led Sandgren/Tweedt (UT)||7-6|
|3. Conkic/Fago (UT) def. Jacques/Re (VT)||8-3|
|Order of Finish: 1,3|