Jan. 17, 2013
KNOXVILLE -- The Tennessee Volunteers opened the 2013 tennis season with a pair of shutouts Thursday at Goodfriend Tennis Center.
Sophomore Brandon Fickey dropped only one game in four matches as the Vols defeated Tennessee Tech 4-0 and Alabama-Huntsville 7-0.
"I thought about 95 percent of the time, the guys were awesome," Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. "They just competed. They had great focus. It's hard to play two matches in one day. It's hard to play and keep that focus when you can see around you that your team is doing well."
Tennessee (2-0) played all eight players in their lineup across the two matches, with senior John Collins and freshman Sebastian Yllera picking up their first singles wins for Tennessee in dual match play in the evening tilt against UAH.
Fickey and fellow sophomore Hunter Reese teamed up on court 3 and picked up a pair of 8-0 victories in the two matches. In singles, Fickey was the first off the court against Tennessee Tech with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Alvaro Cintas at the No. 4 position. He later beat Alabama-Huntsville's Frederik Graaner 6-0, 6-1 to cap a nearly perfect day.
Winterbotham says he isn't sure he's ever had a player win doubles 8-0 and singles 6-0, 6-0 in the same dual match, but Fickey was almost a game away from pulling off the feat twice.
"I think it shows how far Brandon has come emotionally," Winterbotham said. "His focus and his consistency is up higher so obviously his tennis is better. Mentally to maintain that focus over two matches is awesome, I'm proud of him."
Jones joined Fickey as the only Vols to win two singles matches. The senior Vol, now in his third season starting in the singles lineup, only lost three games in his two wins against Tennessee Tech and UAH.
Yllera did not play against Tennessee Tech but took advantage of his playing time against Alabama-Huntsville. He stepped into the No. 6 position and shut out Jordan Belcher 6-0, 6-0.
The Vols continue their busy but brief home stand with another doubleheader Saturday, taking on Oklahoma State at 10:30 a.m. and Belmont at 2:30 p.m.
Notes: Winterbotham is now 6-1 in season openers ... Jarryd Chaplin and Mikelis Libietis, the Vols' ranked doubles team at No. 26, improved to 6-1 this season with two 8-1 victories at the No. 1 position.
Tennessee 4, Tennessee Tech 0
1. #9 Mikelis Libietis, UT, vs. Syrym Abdukhalikov, TTU, 5-7 unf.
2. #40 Hunter Reese, UT, vs. Alajandro Augusto, TTU, 7-6 unf.
3. Jarryd Chaplin, UT, def. Vasily Eremeev, TTU, 6-1, 6-1
4. Brandon Fickey, UT, def. Alvaro Cintas, TTU, 6-0, 6-0
5. John Collins, UT, vs. Artem Tarasov, TTU, 6-4, 2-2
6. Edward Jones, UT, def. Othon Lima, TTU, 6-1, 6-1
1. #26 Libietis/Chaplin, UT, def. Augusto/Abdukhalikov, TTU, 8-1
2. Jones/Collins, UT, vs. Eremeev/Tarasov, TTU, 6-3 unf.
3. Reese/Fickey, UT, def. Cintas/Lima, TTU, 8-0
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1), Singles (4,6,3)
Tennessee 7, Alabama-Huntsville 0
1. #9 Mikelis Libietis, UT, def. Christopher Kano, UAH, 6-1, 6-4
2. Brandon Fickey, UT, def. Frederik Graaner, UAH, 6-0, 6-1
3. John Collins, UT, def. Raphael Oliveira, UAH, 6-2, 6-1
4. Edward Jones, UT, def. Guillermo Reyes, UAH, 6-1, 6-0
5. Taylor Patrick, UT, def. Bruno Medeiros, UAH, 6-1, 6-0
6. Sebastian Yllera, UT, def. Jordan Belcher, UAH, 6-0, 6-0
1. #26 Chaplin/Libietis, UT, def. Kano/Oliveira, UAH, 8-1
2. Jones/Collins, UT, def. Graaner/Medeiros, UAH, 8-1
3. Fickey/Reese, UT, def. Belcher/Reyes, UAH, 8-0
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,4,5,1,2,3).