Feb. 1, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - -
In a marathon match that lasted nearly six hours, eighth-ranked Tennessee edged the University of Louisville men's tennis team 4-3 Sunday evening in the finals of the ITA Kickoff Weekend at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center Feb. 13-16 in Chicago. The Vols (3-1) will advance to the ITA Indoor Championships. The loss snaps the Cards' five match winning streak as they fall to 5-1 on the season.
"It took one of the top teams in the country five hours and 45 minutes to finally beat us," said U of L head coach Rex Ecarma. "They're a great team, but I also think we can be a great team. To play on the road in the SEC at Tennessee is daunting and to have a realistic chance at winning like we did is a great accomplishment for the team."
The Cards took a 1-0 lead by clinching the doubles point to start the match. Tennessee's 50th ranked Davey Sandgren and John-Patrick Smith defeated Austen Childs and Simon Childs 8-5 at the top seed. The Vols evened up the doubles tally at the three-spot when Christian Hansen and Jeremy Tweet picked up an 8-4 win over Robert Hall and Viktor Maksimcuk. Louisville's 44th-ranked duo of Robert Rotaru and Alejandro Calligari upset 21st ranked Boris Conkic and Matteo Fago 9-8 to secure the doubles point.
In singles action, Fago tied the match at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Hall at No. 4. Maksimcuk pulled the Cards ahead 2-1, beating Sandgren 7-5, 6-3 at the three-spot. The Vols responded when No. 50 John-Patrick Smith topped No. 47 Austen Childs 6-4, 6-2 at the top seed. UT gained a 3-2 lead when No. 103 Boris Conkic defeated No. 65 Simon Childs 6-2, 7-6 at the No. 2 seed. The six spot featured a battle with the match on the line. Louisville's Calligari took the first set 7-6, but Hansen came back to win the next two sets 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the match. Meanwhile, Rotaru and Tweedt were also playing a hotly contested match at the No. 5 slot. Tweedt won the first set 6-2, but Rotaru outlasted him 7-6, 7-6 in the next two sets.
was great winning in singles and doubles and he led the way today," said Ecarma. "This was probably the longest match in U of L history and with this team being mostly freshmen and sophomores they really grew up today and I think there is so much they can take away from this match. The sky is the limit with their potential."
The Cardinals will return to the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center where they will play host to Minnesota on Feb. 6 at 5 p.m.
#8 Tennessee 4 - #43 Louisville 3
1 - #50 John-Patrick Smith (UT) d. #47 Austen Childs (UL) 6-4, 6-2
2 - #103 Boris Conkic (UT) d. #65 Simon Childs 6-2, 7-6
3 - Viktor Maksimcuk (UL) d. Davey Sandgren (UT) 7-5, 6-3
4- Matteo Fago (UT) d. Robert Hall (UL) 6-3, 6-0
5- Robert Rotaru (UL) d. Jeremy Tweedt (UT) 2-6, 7-6, 7-6
6- Christian Hansen (UT) d. Alejandro Calligari (UL) 6-7, 6-4, 6-2
Order of finish 4,3,1,2
1 - #50 Sandgren/Smith (UT) d. Childs/Childs (UL) 8-5
2 - #44 Rotaru/Calligari (UL) d. #21 Boris Conkic/Fago (UT) 9-8
3 - Hall/Maksimcuk (UL) d. Hansen/Tweedt (UT) 8-4
Order of finish: 1,3,2