March 2, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Vols lost 4-3 to Florida in the SEC season opener Friday at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.
Despite freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese earning their first career top-10 win in doubles on court 1, Florida took the doubles point and got what they needed from there. Florida won a trio of straight set victories on the even-numbered court with Tripper Carleton clinching the match at 4-1 by beating Brandon Fickey 6-0, 6-4 on court 2.
Libietis, Reese and junior Edward Jones provided Tennessee (7-7, 0-1 SEC) with the Vols' three points.
Florida tipped the doubles point quickly in its favor on the lower two courts. Carleton and Spencer Newman beat Fickey and Jarryd Chaplin 8-1 on court 2, and a few minutes later, the Gators clinched the doubles point when Andrew Butz and Bob van Overbeek beat Jones and Swartz 8-3.
The doubles point was played out and Libietis and Reese rolled to their fourth-straight win, beating eighth-ranked Billy Federhofer and Nassim Slilam 8-4. The freshmen duo are now 15-4 this season and 9-2 in dual matches at the No. 1 position.
In singles, Florida and Tennessee split the first six sets, but the Gators took theirs faster.
Florida added two more points on the board quickly. Newman beat Chaplin 6-3, 6-0 on court 4 and then Michael Alford defeated Taylor Patrick 6-2, 6-1.
Before the match was clinched, Reese gave the Vols their first point of the match. He won his third-consecutive match, pulling away from Florent Diep 6-4, 6-2 on court 3. The freshman Vol improved to 11-8.
While Reese was getting off the court with the victory, Fickey was facing the end of his match. He fought off three set points but could not dispel the fourth against Carleton. The Wake Forest transfer hit a passing shot winner to clinch the match and dealing Fickey his seventh consecutive loss.
After the team victory was decided, the rest of the singles matches were played out. Libietis wrapped up his third consecutive ranked win, beating Bob van Overbeek 6-3, 6-3 on court 1. The freshman lead improved to 15-5 and 7-4 in dual matches.
Jones was the last match of the day on court at No. 4 singles. He overcame an off second set to beat Federhofer in a third set super breaker 6-4, 1-6, [10-4]. It was his season best fourth win in a row, one shy of his career high.
The Vols travel to South Carolina where they will face the 22nd-ranked Gamecocks on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Florida 4, Tennessee 3
1. #36 Mikelis Libietis (UT) def. #51 Bob van Overbeek (UF), 6-3, 6-3
2. Tripper Carleton (UF) def. Brandon Fickey (UT), 6-0, 6-4
3. #95 Hunter Reese (UT) def. Florent Diep (UF), 6-4, 6-2
4. Spencer Newman (UF) def. Jarryd Chaplin (UT), 6-3, 6-0
5. Edward Jones (UT) def. Billy Federhofer (UF), 6-4, 1-6, [10-4]
6. Michael Alford (UF) def. Taylor Patrick (UT), 6-2, 6-1
1. #17 Libietis/Reese (UT) def. #8 Federhofer/Slilam (UF), 8-4
2. #18 Carleton/Newman (UF) def. Chaplin/Fickey (UT), 8-1
3. #43 Butz/van Overbook (UF) def. Jones/Swartz (UT), 8-3
Order of Finish: Singles (4,6,3,2,1,5); Doubles (2,3,1)