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Sandgren, Smith Open Knoxville Challenger with Win
Rhyne Williams

Rhyne Williams

Nov. 10, 2009

Coming off a national tournament last weekend, senior Davey Sandgren and junior John-Patrick Smith returned to action Monday evening with a victory in the first round of the Knoxville Challenger.

With a powerful service game and early leads in both sets, Sandgren and Smith earned a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Prakash Amritraj and Kevin Kim in the USTA Pro Circuit Event. Freshman Rhyne Williams came out to a fast start but lost in a long, three-set match to Slovakia's Luka Gregorc 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Sandgren and Smith, the top-ranked college doubles team, picked up a break to go ahead 4-2 in the first set and won the last two games to take the first set 6-2. The second set was more closely contested until Sandgren and Smith broke Amritraj and Kim's serve to go up 5-3.

"When we got our first break, it really put the momentum on our side, and we kept it up from there," Sandgren said.

Sandgren and Smith play in their second-round match on Wednesday.

The Vols returned to Knoxville on Sunday after playing the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships last week. Sandgren and Smith reached the quarterfinals in doubles. Smith played his way into the semifinals Saturday.

Fatigue did not prove to be much of a factor Monday for Sandgren or Smith. After three classes, some catch up work and a nap, Smith said he was OK.

"We had plenty of energy out there," Smith said. "We moved a lot and served in a variety of places as well. We didn't give them too many looks at one specific spot, so that was good."

Williams, a Knoxville native, took the court before Sandgren and Smith's match. He opened the first set against Gregorc with a 3-0 lead, and he broke Gregorc's serve three times in the set to win 6-2. In the second set, Williams once again jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Gregorc rallied back to eventually win in a tiebreaker.

 

 

Gregorc won the final set 6-2.

Williams finished his first fall season with the Vols with a 13-3 singles record, the second-most wins on the team behind Smith's 16.

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