April 24, 2009
AUBURN - The No. 6 Tennessee men's tennis team picked up its first victory of the 2009 Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Tournament Friday afternoon, defeating 12th-ranked Kentucky, 4-2, in the tournament quarterfinals.
The Volunteers, seeded third in the tournament, will take on second-seeded Georgia in the SEC Tournament semifinals at 3 p.m., Saturday.
The 2009 SEC Men's Tennis Tournament is a four-day tournament hosted by Auburn University at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. One of the toughest tennis leagues in the country, the SEC features seven teams currently ranked in the top-25 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
In doubles play, the fifth-ranked team of John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren defeated Kentucky's 20th-ranked team of Bruno Agostinelli and Brad Cox, 8-4. In the No. 2 doubles match, the Volunteer's 42nd-ranked team of Boris Conkic and Matteo Fago won 8-4, defeating the Wildcat's team of Graeme Dyce and Eric Quigley to pick up the doubles point.
Kentucky's Alberto Gonzalez and Alex Musialek were beating Tennessee's Matt Brewer and Bryan Swartz, 6-5 but the match went unfinished.
"For awhile, Tennessee kind of had the best of us for a couple years," said Kentucky head coach Dennis Emery. "We came back and have really made it a rivalry with them this year, but they are just a great team, a really well-coached team. I thought we played really good in the doubles but they just served the ball better than we did, that was the difference in the doubles."
In singles play, Kentucky took the early lead as No. 4 Musialek defeated Tennessee's Sandgren, 6-2, 6-2, and then in the No. 3 match as 119th-ranked Quigley defeated UT's Fago, 6-3, 6-2.
The Volunteers made a comeback in Nos. 6 and 2 singles, as Brewer defeated Alberto Gonzalez 6-2, 6-4, and 34th-ranked Conkic defeated Cox 6-2, 7-5.
In the No. 5 singles match, Tennessee's Christian Hansen defeated Kentucky's Graeme Dyce 6-3, 7-5 to clinch the win for the Volunteers.
"I just tried to hang in there and luckily I broke him back on 5-4," said Hansen. "I don't know what happened, the emotions came up and the adrenaline kicked in. The team was supporting me greatly, I am just happy to get the win."
Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham was excited about pulling out the win over one of the team's rivals.
"Well, it's the SEC, so every time you come into a match you have to play hard," said Winterbotham. "Kentucky had actually beaten us two times this year, so coming into this match we had to get mentally prepared. It wasn't necessarily Kentucky, but we had to overcome some adversity. I thought our guys did that, they clinched a couple key points for us and play really well."
With the win, Tennessee improves to 20-5 on the season and Kentucky drops to 17-10.