Oct. 12, 2013
SINGLES | DOUBLES | PHOTOS
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Four Tennessee Vols won a pair of singles matches Saturday to advance to the round of 16 of the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships.
Top-seeded Mikelis Libietis and third-seeded Hunter Reese remain the two highest seeds remaining in the field. Senior Jarryd Chaplin and freshmen Sean Karl also reached the fourth round thanks to a winning start to singles play.
All four Vols play their fourth-round matches Sunday afternoon at Goodfriend Tennis Center. The doubles quarterfinals and semifinals start at 8:30 a.m., with the top-ranked team of Libietis and Reese set to compete.
Chaplin is looking to use this weekend to springboard his game in the positive direction after a slow start to the fall season. The senior from Sydney, Australia, was just 2-5 through two tournaments before reeling off a pair of wins Saturday on his home courts.
Chaplin, an All-SEC player last year for UT, beat Lucas Anderson of Ball State 6-2, 6-4 in his first match. In the afternoon, he held off a late-charging Albert Wagner of Louisville 6-4, 7-6.
"That match should have been over earlier that it was," Chaplin said. "I had two match points at 5-2. When I got broken at 5-3, I was happy with the way I played in that tiebreaker and stop the momentum that he had because it had completely shifted."
Coming of the courts a victor in a close match, Chaplin feels like he's getting back on track. He said he valued the win over the talented Wagner and knows he can't stop there. On Sunday, he faces Vanderbilt's Kris Yee, who defeated him earlier this season at the SEC Fall Classic.
"I haven't played as well as I've wanted to in the two tournaments leading up to this one. This is probably the best I've practiced day in, day out my whole time at UT. Something isn't clicking, but in the match in the morning and in the afternoon, it really felt like a dual match and I seemed to get my mojo back a little."
Karl also snapped a losing streak on Saturday, breaking out a four-match slide in a big way. He beat Chattanooga's Jorge Varon in the morning 6-3, 6-2 and then was in for a three-set battle in his next round at the Knoxville Racquet Club, the other tournament site.
He defeated Alex Gornet of Louisville 6-2, 3-6, 7-6. It was his second-career three-set victory.
Reese closed the day with a tight, three-set battle. The only match remaining on court at Goodfriend Tennis Center, Reese used the home crowd to help him through a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win against Memphis' David O'Leary.
Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said the Vols cannot be satisfied with just making the round of 16.
"We need to have consistent effort, and we haven't had that from everyone this week," Winterbotham said. "That's not what our program is about. We need to be competing for and winning titles like this."
USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships
Saturday's Tennessee Results
Main Draw Singles
Round of 32
Mikelis Libietis (1), UT, def. Alberto Esteban, TTU, 6-2, 6-3
Jarryd Chaplin, UT, def. Lucas Anderson, Ball State, 6-2, 6-4
Markus Kerner, UT, def. Dan Gilbert, Wright State, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2
Sean Karl, UT, def. Jorge Varon, UTC, 6-3, 6-2
Hunter Reese (3), UT, def. Diego Nunez, ETSU, 7-6, 6-4
Round of 16
Libietis (1), UT, def. Ray Leonard, Ball State, 6-4, 6-3
Chaplin, UT, def. Albert Wagner, Louisville, 6-4, 7-6
Ricky Medinilla, Purdue, def. Kerner, UT, 7-6, 6-1
Karl, UT, def. Alex Gornet, Louisville, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6
Reese (2), UT, def. David O'Leary, Memphis, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
Sunay Bhat, UT, def. Saidi, 7-5, 2-6, [10-8]