Oct. 20, 2011
BY AMANDA PRUITT
The final second-round doubles match of the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships at Goodfriend Tennis Center looked more like a dual match than an individual tournament.
After six of the eight Vols won their first-round singles matches to start the tournament Thursday, the last match on court was a familiar Southeastern Conference sight: Tennessee versus Kentucky.
With teammates on both sides staying in the stands to cheer on the finish, Jones and Fickey recorded the upset in a tense 8-6 victory over the Wildcats' eighth-seeded Anthony Rossi and Tom Jomby to move to the round of 16.
"It definitely felt like a dual match," said Jones, who has started his first two seasons in the Vols' doubles lineup. "You kind of had that feeling that the two other doubles teams had split and it was down to the last match for the doubles point. It added a little spice for me, and I think it did for Brandon as well."
Jones and Fickey were up 2-0 early and had three break point chances to take a 3-0 lead, but Kentucky rumbled back. The Vols duo broke Kentucky's serve again with Jomby serving at 6-6, and Fickey put away the match on serve.
"We came out and just made balls, and that's the key," Fickey said. "We came out with high energy and did what our coaches said. We really let them make the mistakes. That's where it went from there."
Doubles play resumes Saturday and Jones and Fickey will face ETSU's Jeremy Bonnevalle and Roger Ordeig.
Thursday marked Libietis' return to competition for the first time in more than a month, and he made his afternoon back in the office a memorable one, winning his singles match and both doubles contests.
Libietis had played just one other event this semester entering the regional, winning the top flight of the Tennessee Fall Invitational in mid-September before experiencing a series of injury setbacks.
"This is my second tournament this semester, and I was ready to play," Libietis said. "I was very hungry to play matches. And I just wanted to go out there and play the best I can."
Libietis, the tournament's eighth seed, beat Dayton's Aidan Koross 6-2, 6-3 to move on to Friday's round of 64 where he will play Vasily Eremeev of Tennessee Tech.
"I felt the ball much better now than I did in the in the first tournament," Libietis said. "Physically, I'm doing fine. I think it's going to be a good week."
Senior Bryan Swartz recorded his team-leading 10th victory of the season Thursday, beating Austin Sansone of Ball State 7-5, 6-4 to advance.
Swartz captured his first singles title to start the his last year at the Tennessee Fall Invitational and is now 10-2 on the season, already matching his career best for wins in an entire year.
SIX VOLS MARCH ON
Six of eight Vols won their first singles matches Thursday, including three of the team's freshmen who were playing the first round.
Reese, who has missed time with injuries himself, bounced back with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Wright State's Lauri Makikalli in just his fourth match of the season. Fellow freshman Peter Nagovnak chipped in with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Chattanooga's Manuel Barroetavena.
Jones, a 17-32 seed, beat William Hever of Purdue 6-2, 6-3, and junior Taylor Patrick added a strong 7-6, 7-5 win against Purdue's Diego Acosta.
WHAT'S ON SCHEDULE
Two rounds of main draw and consolation singles will be played Friday at Goodfriend Tennis Center and the Knoxville Racquet Club. By the end of the evening, the number of players vying for a spot in the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships will be narrowed to 16.
USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships
Thursday's Tennessee Results
 Mikelis Libietis, UT, def. Aidan Koross, Dayton, 6-2, 6-3
[17-32] Hunter Reese, UT, def. Lauri Makikalli, Wright State, 6-4, 6-4
[17-32] Edward Jones, UT, def. William Hever, Purdue, 6-2, 6-3
Peter Nagovnak, UT, def. Manuel Barroetavena, Chattanooga, 6-3, 6-4
Taylor Patrick, UT, def. Diego Acosta, Purdue, 7-6, 7-5
Bryan Swartz, UT, def. Austin Sansone, Ball State, 7-5, 6-4
[9-16] Mark Kovacs, Purdue, def. Brandon Fickey, UT, 7-5 (6), 6-4
[17-32] Aaron Dujovne, Purdue, def. Jarryd Chaplin, UT, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
Round of 64
 Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese, UT, def. Ankit Chopra/Roberto Viera, UTC, 8-4
Brandon Fickey/Edward Jones, UT, def. Pulok Bhattachorya/Tommy Marx, Butler, 8-0
Jarryd Chaplin/Peter Nagovnak, UT, def.  Phil Diaz/Brandon MacDonald, Xavier, 8-2
Derek Carpenter/Zane Smith, Ball State, def. Taylor Patrick/Bryan Swartz, UT, 8-2
Round of 32
Libietis/Reese def. Gonzales Austin/Blake Bazarnik, Vanderbilt, 8-6
Fickey/Jones def.  Anthony Rossi/Tom Jomby, Kentucky, 8-6
Zach Ervin/Sam O'Neill, Butler, def. Chaplin/Nagovnak, 8-6
Friday's Main Draw Schedule
Round of 64
At Goodfriend Tennis Center
[17-32] Hunter Reese, UT, vs. Tommy Marx, Butler, 8:30 a.m.
Peter Nagovnak, UT, vs.  Josh MacTaggart, Indiana, 10 a.m.
At Knoxville Racquet Club
[17-32] Edward Jones, UT, vs. Patrick Elliott, Ball State, 8: 30 a.m
Taylor Patrick, UT, vs. [9-16] Gonzales Austin, Vanderbilt, 8:30 a.m.
 Mikelis Libietis, UT, vs. Vasily Eremeev, Tennessee Tech 10:30 a.m.
Bryan Swartz, UT, vs. [17-32] Smyczk Abdukhalikov, Tennessee Tech, 10:30 a.m.