Sept. 24, 2009
Once again, the Tennessee Volunteers are traveling to separate sites for a pair of tournaments: the UVa Ranked Plus One Invitational in Charlottesville, Va., and the Baylor HEB Intercollegiate in Waco, Texas.
The Vols dealt with rain at last week's Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens, Ga., which washed out much of the tournament schedule and resulted in most doubles matches being canceled. Therefore, the UVa Ranked Plus One marks the first match of the season for the Vols No. 1-ranked doubles team in the nation, senior Davey Sandgren and junior John-Patrick Smith.
Sandgren and Smith drew attention in last year's Virginia tournament by working through the A-3 bracket to face Virginia's Dominic Inglot and Michael Shabaz in the championship match. Nearly eight months later, Sandgren and Smith played the same Virginia pair in the doubles finals of the NCAA Tennis Championships.
This year, Sandgren and Smith are in the A-1 bracket and seeded as the top team. They play Calin Paar and Francois Van Impe of Nebraska in the first round, which begins Friday. Sophomore Bryan Swartz and redshirt freshman Taylor Patrick are also in the A-1 bracket and face a pair from host Virginia.
The singles bracket boasts some of the steepest competition the Vols face during the fall individual season. Of the 125 players in ITA's preseason rankings, 31 of them are entered in the UVa Ranked Plus One.
Smith, ranked No. 2 nationally, is the top seeded player in the tournament. He is scheduled to face Virginia Commonwealth's Tim Johanssen in the A-1 singles bracket.
Williams is competing in the A-2 bracket and plays No. 103-ranked Ivan Salec of Radford in the first round. Though his is only two tournaments into his collegiate career, Williams has already succeeded against a ranked opponent. At last week's Southern Intercollegiate Championships, Williams defeated No. 58-ranked John Peers of Middle Tennessee State 7-6 (5), 7-5.
In the A-3 bracket, Sandgren faces William and Mary's Keziel Juneau, who is seeded fourth and ranked No. 61. Conkic is the Vols' second ranked player in the tournament at No. 20, and he drew a No. 2 seed in the A-4 bracket. He plays Torsten Wietoska of Duke in the opening round.
Swartz and Patrick are competing in the B singles bracket. Patrick plays Jared Pinsky of Duke, who was defeated by UT freshman Edward Jones last week in Georgia. Swartz faces Dino Dell'Orto of Virginia in the first round.
The draw for the Baylor HEB Intercollegiate has not been released, but play is also scheduled to begin Friday.