Rhyne's excited. Are you excited? (©Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos)
Stellar sophomores Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren -- the in-state recruits who shared a court throughout the season as doubles partners, and who now share the prestigious and emphatic title of "All-American" -- both prevailed in straight sets with Rhyne and Sandgren winning 7-5, 6-4 and 6-4, 7-6(4), respectively.
Now a very interesting situation presents itself. Very interesting indeed. Rhyne and Sandgren, if they both advance out of the quarterfinals, will meet in the semifinals and play for the right to play for NCAA championship. This would be both unfortunate (because somebody has to lose) and quite cool (because we would know a Vol would be advancing to the final) all at the same time. But please don't think I'm jumping the gun or inadvertently jinxing my school. No No....by no means is an All-Vol semifinal matchup a sure thing. And I'm aware of that; I'm just thinking positive.
Sandgren squares off at 4pm (eastern) against Marcel Thiemann who, among other things, is (a) a sophomore (b) from Germany, who (b) happens to be Ole Miss' top player, and (d) very likely loves David Hasselhoff. I have no head-to-head evidence between these guys to help inform an analysis, but they are closely ranked to one another, and so I assume it will be a competitive match.
Rhyne, as I touched upon a bit yesterday, is matched up against Stanford's Bradley Klahn. This match begins at 3pm (eastern). Klahn is the defending NCAA champ, and will be the obvious crowd favorite. But that is no reason for you the reader -- and hopefully you're a Vols fan, Mr. ReaderFace -- to think negative thoughts about this upcoming showdown. Rhyne is the higher ranked player, and is playing well. These two apparently haven't played each other since they were 14 years old. But I happen to be in possession of some evidence that suggests their respective games will not be unfamiliar to each other.
(At a junior tournament three years ago. Practicing together.)
JP Smith gave, Steve Johnson, the #1 overall seeded player a real scare before eventually falling 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-7(2). The doubles tandem of Smith/Concik then lost 3-6, 4-6 to Kevin King and Juan Spir from Georgia Tech. Tough ending to a great career at UT for JP Smith. But the tough ending should in no way, shape, or form reflect negatively on the great great career that JP Smith had as a University of Tennessee Volunteer, and all the many positives (e.g. the most wins (combining doubles and singles) in the history of a program that has produced some very good players. JP Smith is one of the very best UT has ever had.
For you visual learners, here is the singles bracket as it stands at publication.