Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tennessee Men Gain Semifinal With Sweep of Baylor

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Athens, GA--

As the second seed, Tennessee would usually have the option of playing on the front courts during the NCAA Sweet 16. But rain and an overachieving host team have relegated the Volunteers to the indoor courts and the McWhorter back courts in their first two wins. After a 4-0 win over Baylor, Tennessee is assured of getting to the main stage, where they will face a rabid Georgia crowd Monday evening.

Against Baylor, the Volunteers took the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3. Rhyne Williams and Boris Conkic outclassed Baylor's Attila Bucko and Jordan Rux at No. 2, 8-1 and Edward Jones and Matteo Fago got by Sergio Ramirez and Maros Horny of Baylor 8-6

 after Baylor's Denes Lukacs and Roberto Maytin had taken the No. 1 match from JP Smith and Davey Sandgren by the same score. For the second match in a row, Tennessee won the doubles point on a third overrule that cost the opposition a point and hence the game.

In singles, Baylor was unable to get much traction, with Tennessee taking four first sets in singles. Matt Brewer, who is returning from an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for over a month, gave the Volunteers their second point at No. 5, with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Roberto Maytin. Boris Conkic followed with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Jordan Rux at No. 2 to make it 3-0 and freshman Rhyne Williams ended the three-hour match with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Attila Bucko at No. 3 singles.

Baylor head coach Matt Knoll, who described Tennessee's head coach Sam Winterbotham as "one of my best friends," likes the Volunteers' chances to keep advancing.

"I think they're very, very good," Knoll said. "What it comes down to in college dual matches is getting four points and they've got four points out there that are pretty darn good. So I think someone's going to have to play exceptionally well to beat them. If you're in their shoes, that's a great position to be in."

Tennessee's Winterbotham was as low-key after his team's victory as Williams was in his clinching celebration.

"We played another good match," Winterbotham said. "We continue to take it one match at a time...we're a pretty close unit right now, and that impresses me as a coach."

The Volunteers will face a hostile crowd on Monday evening, but that prospect is a welcome one for Winterbotham.

"I'm going to look forward to it," he said. "If you have the opportunity to play in front of a big crowd you should take it every time. We don't want to be sitting on the back courts playing in front of 20 people, half of them parents--which has been the case sometimes. I think you want to come to this stage and you want play on this stage. Whether it's Georgia or Oklahoma, we know there's going to be a great crowd. We also know they'll be a great crowd of Tennessee fans here."

#2 TENNESSEE (28-1) def. #7 BAYLOR (24-6), 4-0
Head Coaches: and Matt Knoll (Baylor) and Sam Winterbotham (Tennessee)

Doubles (Order of finish: 2,1,3)
1. #28 Denes Lukacs/Roberto Maytin (BAYLOR) def. #3 Davey Sandgren/John-Patrick Smith (TENNESSEE), 8-6
2. #12 Rhyne Williams/Boris Conkic (TENNESSEE) def. Attila Bucko/Jordan Rux (BAYLOR), 8-1
3. Edward Jones/Matteo Fago (TENNESSEE) def. Sergio Ramirez/Maros Horny (BAYLOR), 8-6

Singles (Order of finish: 5,2,3*)
1. #14 Denes Lukacs (BAYLOR) vs. #1 John-Patrick Smith (TENNESSEE, 7-6(7), 1-1, unf.
2. #36 Boris Conkic (TENNESSEE) def. #34 Jordan Rux (BAYLOR), 6-4, 6-2
3. #45 Rhyne Williams (TENNESSEE) def. Attila Bucko (BAYLOR), 6-3, 6-2
4. Dominik Mueller (BAYLOR) vs. #111 Tennys Sandgren (TENNESSEE), 6-4, 2-3, unf.
5. #116 Matt Brewer (TENNESSEE) def. Roberto Maytin (BAYLOR), 6-3, 6-3
6. Julian Bley (BAYLOR) vs. Matteo Fago (TENNESSEE), 4-6, 3-1, unf.