Oct. 22, 2012
In their first tournament together, Libietis and Collins put together their best performance in the finals Monday, cruising past second-seeded Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai of Kentucky 8-1 to capture the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships.
With the victory, Libietis and Collins qualify for the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships next month in Flushing, N.Y.
The championship was the second regional title for both Libietis and Collins. Libietis captured the title last year in Knoxville with sophomore Hunter Reese.
Collins is now one of the few players to win back-to-back titles in two different regions. He won the doubles title at the Atlantic Regional last year with Maros Horny while at Maryland.
Tennessee has now won the Ohio Valley Regional doubles title three of the last four seasons.
Libietis and Collins' stay at regions was almost an extremely brief one. They trailed 7-2 and faced match points in their opening match Dalton Albertin and Ray Leonard of Ball State before reeling off seven games in a row. From there, the Vol pairing worked their way through four more matches to the title.
Libietis will try to make it a title sweep Tuesday when he takes on Vanderbilt redshirt senior Ryan Lipman at 11 a.m. Eastern.
Seeded second in the tournament, Libietis picked up two more straight-set singles wins after winning the doubles title.
He picked up an 6-1, 6-3 victory over Memphis' Joe Salisbury in the quarterfinals and faced Jomby for a spot in the final. Libietis took advantage of his opportunities early in the match and fought off all five break points he faced to beat the Kentucky junior 6-2, 6-4.
Lipman, who redshirted for Vanderbilt last year after suffering an injury at the end of the 2011 season, reserved his spot in the title match when sophomore teammate Austin Gonzales retired with injury at 7-5, 3-3.
USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships
Mikelis Libietis (2), UT, def. Joe Salisbury, Memphis, 6-1, 6-3
Libietis (2), UT, def. Tom Jomby (4), Kentucky, 7-5, 3-3
Mikelis Libiets/John Collins (1), UT, def. Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (2), UK, 8-1