Tennessee's J.P. Smith Sweeps Oklahoma Schools to Capture the D'Novo/ITA Men's All-American Singles & Doubles Championships

March 10, 2009 03:45 PM
TULSA, Okla. - Tennessee's John-Patrick Smith, ranked No. 2 in the preseason Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings achieved a feat that only two others have accomplished in the history of the ITA Men's All-American Championships, by capturing the singles and doubles titles. He is joined by exclusive company in Mississippi State's Daniel Courcol (1992) and Harvard's James Blake (1998).

Fresh off a victory in one of the prime matchups of the tournament, which could also stand as one of the season's best. Smith bounced back after dropping the first set to knock off third-ranked Robert Farah of USC, the 2007 D'Novo/ITA All-American Runner-Up.

While today's singles final couldn't exactly be termed as a David vs. Goliath matchup, Smith, the 2008 NCAA Championship Runner-Up, who already has one singles title under his belt this year by winning the first flight of the UVA Plus One Invitational, has been in many big matches in his young college career. Oklahoma's Andrei Daescu, a senior turning into a rising star under the tutelage of first year Head Coach John Roddick, brother of Andy Roddick, reached his first major collegiate championship final.

Smith appeared to be in championship form from the get-go, opening up by winning the first two games before Daescu found his groove, eventually sending the first set into a tie-break, where Smith was able to outlast Daescu in front of the Sooner State home crowd.

It was Andrei who came out firing in the second set, claiming the first two games. At that point, despite the cold drizzly weather, J.P. began to start warming up, winning six of the next seven games to claim the set, match and singles title.

"He competes very hard and hits the ball very well so I needed to be on my game right away to get the win," Smith said. "Sticking with my strengths got me through it today so I'm happy."

In the first doubles match, Smith and Boris Conkic, who had not previously played together as a team prior to the D'Novo/ITA All-American Championships, made quick work of the highest-remaining doubles team, defeating the No. 3 seeded Wisconsin team of Moritz Baumann and Marek Michalicka, 8-3.

With time working against them, the Vols doubles team stayed on the court for the doubles finals which pitted the tournament's No. 2 singles player versus the No. 1 singles player in Oklahoma's State's Oleksandr Nedovyesov, the 2009 Campbell/ITA National Player of the Year. On a day in which nothing seemed to slow down the resilient Australian, he and Conkic were able to put away the Cowboy duo, 8-4. The win pushed his total two-day match tally at six matches.

"Playing so much tennis definitely takes it out of you both physically and mentally," Smith said. "The main thing I try to do is keep relaxed and do a lot to look after my body so I can compete at such a high level."

In consolation play, the Duke team of Reid Carleton and highly-touted freshman Henrique Cunha were able brush off the Childs brothers of Louisville to capture the doubles consolation title Saturday night while Robin Fahgen of SMU put the clamps on sixth-seeded Dimitar Kutrovski, 6-2, 7-5, claiming the consolation singles championships.

For complete results and event information, visit www.itatennis.com.