May 27, 2011
By Jon Cooper
The team, ranked No. 14 in the nation, knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team, Tennessee’s Boris Conkic and John-Patrick Smith in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tennis tournament.
“It was a great win for these guys,” said Head Coach Kenny Thorne. “To beat the No.1 team in the nation, I’m extremely proud of the guys. They’ve been playing good doubles all year and came in playing well. We knew they could do some damage here. It was good for them to actually get into the quarterfinals and get that win. I’m very proud of the guys.”
Tech’s duo came out flying in the first set, running the Vols off the court, 6-3, then got three quick breaks in the second set to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
“We wanted to get off quick playing our game, playing quick points and have them playing our style,” said King. “It worked both sets.”
But at 5-0, the Vols duo bounced back.
“They started returning well and got two of the breaks back,” said King. “But at 5-4 we still had our serve and felt confident that we were going to hold.”
Spir did that, nailing down the match with an ace.
“It felt really good,” said Spir. “We were glad we were able to close the match in the second set. It was a relief to serve well in the last game.”
Thorne was confident in his team, which had a 31-10 record during the year.
“I honestly felt like they could win,” he said. “In the fall they got to the Semifinals of the National Indoors and had a close loss to a team that was No. 4 in the nation. So they’ve had enough experience. They’re actually ranked 14 but in their minds they felt like they were a lot better. Until you do it at the bigger venue, its kind of tough, but doing it here I think they’re going to take a lot out of it.”
“That was one of our goals the whole year and we know that we have the level to beat any team in the country,” said Spir. “We had a couple of losses but we know that we can beat one of the best or the best in the country. So we were confident going into the match today and fortunately we did a good job.”
Friday night’s win is a repeat of history, as the King and Spir knocked off the top-ranked team of Duke’s Reid Carleton and Henrique Cunha, 8-5, in the fall during the National Indoors before losing to Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek of Texas A&M, 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (6) in the semis.
Carleton and Cunha will be waiting for Spir and King on Saturday afternoon in the National Quarterfinals. Duke’s team routed Texas’ team of Jean Andersen and Ed Corrie, 6-2, 6-2. The Blue Devils’ team won the lone meeting this year against Tech, 8-6.
They are not intimidated and are not about to back down.
“We’ve played them two or three times,” said King. “We know what to expect and we know we’ll have to go after it. But we’re confident we can win.”
“We’ll do the same as we have planned. Keep our game strategy,” agreed Spir. “We’re playing Duke guys that we know pretty well. We’ve played them a few times. It’s going to be a tough match but we are confident and we know we’re going to do a good job.”
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