May 20, 2011
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- There are few -- if any -- secrets left when the third-seeded Tennessee Volunteers match up Saturday against the sixth-seeded Georgia Bulldogs for the third time this season.
This time, the match is on the biggest national stage: the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tennis Championships.
The match starts at noon Pacific at the Taube South Stadium on the Stanford campus. A live blog of the action will be available at UTSports.com.
For more news and notes on a rematch of one of the SEC's strongest tennis rivalries:
How We Got Here (and Other Deep Questions):
The Vols reached the quarterfinals with a 4-2 comeback victory over California after losing the doubles point. Georgia overcame a slow start in singles to advance with a 4-1 win over Duke.
The Recent Series
The Vols (24-4) defeated Georgia (23-5) in the first two meetings of the year, one on a neutral court and the other on the road in Athens, Ga.
In February, the Vols won 4-2 in the opening round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle while playing singles without the services of Tennys Sandgren, who was out with an illness.
In the rematch in April, the Vols earned a 4-3 victory on the Bulldogs' home courts in the last conference match of the season to secure a share of the SEC regular-season title with Georgia. Senior John-Patrick Smith clinched the match with a straight-set victory over Wil Spencer on court 1.
Last year, Tennessee and Georgia met in the NCAA semifinal match in Athens. The Vols took the doubles point via a tiebreaker victory by Boris Conkic and Rhyne Williams on court 2. Sandgren eventually clinched the 4-1 victory on court 4 with a three-set win over Drake Bernstein.
Saturday's lineup for Georgia is slightly different from the April meeting. Hernus Pieters and Ignacio Taboada, who both scored wins against Matteo Fago and Edward Jones on courts 5 and 6 respectively, have flipped places in the lineup.
Investigating the Box Scores
Here are the court-by-court scores from the first two Tennessee-Georgia matches this year:
Tennessee 4, Georgia 2
Feb. 18, 2011
Seattle (Nordstrom Tennis Center)
Singles 1. #1 Rhyne Williams (UT) vs. #24 Javier Garrapiz (UGA), 6-7 , 3-2 DNF
2. #17 John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. #12 Wil Spencer (UGA), 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
3. #68 Matteo Fago (UT) vs. #31 Sadio Doumbia (UGA), 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 
4. #119 Boris Conkic (UT) def. Drake Bernstein (UGA), 6-2, 6-4
5. Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. Edward Jones (UT), 6-4, 7-5
6. Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Jaryd Chaplin (UT), 6-1, 6-4
1. #8 Smith/Conkic (UT) def. #12 Garrapiz/Pieters (UGA), 9-8 
2. #41 Doumbia/Taboada (UGA) def. Sandgren/Williams (UT), 8-6
3. Jones/Fago (UT) def. #37 Bernstein/Spencer (UGA), 8-4
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,4,5,2,3).
Tennessee 4, Georgia 3
April 16, 2011
Athens, Ga. (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
1. #13 John-Patrick Smith (TENN) def. #16 Wil Spencer (UGA) 7-5, 6-3
2. #4 Rhyne Williams (TENN) def. #29 Javier Garrapiz (UGA) 6-3, 6-3
3. #69 Sadio Doumbia (UGA) def. #47 Tennys Sandgren (TENN) 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3)
4. Boris Conkic (TENN) def. Drake Bernstein (UGA) 6-4, 6-2
5. Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. #63 Matteo Fago (TENN) 6-4, 6-4
6. Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. Ed Jones (TENN) 6-1, 6-2
1. #8 Javier Garrapiz/Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. #1 John-Patrick Smith/Boris Conkic (TENN) 8-3
2. #47 Tennys Sandgren/Rhyne Williams (TENN) def. #49 Sadio Doumbia/Ignacio Taboada (UGA) 8-5
3. Matteo Fago/Edward Jones (TENN) def. Drake Bernstein/Wil Spencer (UGA) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,4,5,2,1,3)
He's Smart Too
Smith earned yet another honor to his already crowded trophy case, this time for his performance in academics. The recent economics graduate was named Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District after heading into his last final exams with a 3.49 GPA.
Smith, who recorded his 150th singles win in Thursday's 4-2 victory over California, was also named Academic All-District as a junior.
Looking at NCAA Records
In his five years at Tennessee, head coach Sam Winterbotham has compiled a 13-4 record in NCAA Tournament matches. At the final site -- which includes the round of 16 and up -- he has a 4-3 record.
Historically speaking, the Vols have faired extremely well in the NCAA quarterfinals, going 6-1 all-time. Last year, the Vols advanced through the quarterfinals with a 4-0 victory over Baylor.
When it comes to NCAA team play, Williams has certainly put his best foot forward. The sophomore from Knoxville is 7-0 in his career in NCAA tournament matches, including 2-0 on court 2 so far in 2011.
Last year, Williams finished 5-0 through the Vols' six rounds of competition to be named to the NCAA Championships All-Tournament Team for his performance at No. 3 singles.
While he is not undefeated, Smith has also excelled on the top two courts for the Vols throughout his career in the national competition. He is now 9-3, including his win Thursday. Conkic and Sandgren each have five career singles wins at the NCAAs.
The Vols lost the doubles point Thursday for just the fifth time this season and improved to 2-3 in such matches. Their only other time the Vols had lost the doubles point and rallied to win was a 4-2 victory over Kentucky on the indoor courts in Lexington, Ky.
Eight and Counting
Sandgren and Williams, in their first collegiate season together as a pairing, have picked up momentum in doubles as the season has progressed.
They enter Saturday with a season-best eight-match winning streak at the No. 2 position and have an 20-4 record. While they will be unable to catch Conkic and Smith's 17-match winning streak from earlier in the season, Sandgren and Williams' eight matches is the best for the two as a doubles team.
History in the Making
Because Smith is seeded in both the NCAA singles and doubles tournaments, he has met the All-America qualifications in both categories. Not only will he become Tennessee's first four-time ITA All-America, but he will also earn the recognition as being just the second player in the history of college tennis to be named a four-time singles and doubles All-America.
Only Rick Leach, who lettered for Southern California from 1984-87, was named a singles and doubles All-America all four years of his career. He later went on to be the world No. 1 in doubles.
Smith is the Vols' career leader with 144 doubles wins. He has 294 combined singles and doubles wins, which is also a school record.
Win No. 40
Smith's 6-3, 6-1 win against Pedro Zerbini on court 1 was his team-leading 40th of the season. The back-to-back SEC Player of the Year is now one win shy of his career best of 41, set last season as a junior.
He finished with 33 wins as a freshman and 36 as a sophomore.
Williams has a chance to reach 40 wins for the second time in his two-year career. He enters Saturday with 36 and will be the No. 4 seed in the NCAA singles tournament next week.