Oct. 3, 2012
TULSA, Okla. -- With five days of qualifying completed, four Vols will begin main draw competition Thursday at the ITA All-American Championships, the first national college tournament of the season.
Sophomores Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese will represent Tennessee in the 64-player singles draw, with Libietis earning the No. 13 seed in the field. Reese and senior John Collins are playing together in the 32-team doubles tournament, as are Libietis and junior Jarryd Chaplin.
Chaplin missed out on joining Libietis and Reese in singles by losing 6-3, 6-3 to Georgia's Nathan Pasha in the final round of qualifying Wednesday afternoon. Edward Jones and Brandon Fickey lost in the third round of doubles qualifying 8-2 to Washington's Emmett Egger and Kyle McMorrow.
The singles main draw has already been released, and Libietis and Reese are set to play the top two players from Duke.
Libietis takes on Chris Mengel of Duke at 9 a.m. Eastern (8 a.m. Central). Mengel is currently ranked 19th nationally and played No. 2 for the Blue Devils last season. Thursday marks Libietis' season debut. As a freshman, Libietis faced the best players in the nation routinely by playing No. 1 singles and doubles in all his matches.
Reese faces No. 1-seeded Henrique Cunha of Duke at 1 p.m. It will be Reese's second match against a top-10 opponent this year, having lost 6-3, 6-3 to seventh-ranked Mate Zsiga of Baylor in the finals of the Baylor HEB Intercollegiate. The top seed of the All-American has been upset in the first round in two of the last three years.
In doubles, both Vols face teams that played in qualifying earlier this week.
Reese and Collins are seeded third in the tournament and take on the lucky losers from Mississippi State, Malte Stropp and Jordan Angus. Reese and Collins are 1-1 this fall and won the ITA National Summer Circuit Championships together in August. Their opening match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Libietis and Chaplin take on qualifiers Martin Ayala and Diogo Casa of Texas-San Antonio at 5 p.m. Though the Vol duo haven't played together this year, they are 3-0 together as a team, and Chaplin is off to a 5-0 start in doubles. They play at approximately 5 p.m.
The top seeds in doubles are Ole Miss Rebels Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen, a team that shot up the national rankings during the final two months of last spring. Libietis and Reese defeated them 9-8 in a dual match at home.