March 13, 2012
Freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese debuted in the ITA doubles top 10 Tuesday, moving up 10 places to No. 7 nationally.
Libietis and Reese are 18-4 this season together and have won seven consecutive matches atop the Tennessee doubles lineup. They are currently the highest ranked doubles team in the SEC.
The Vols (8-9, 1-3 SEC) dropped to No. 24 in the national rankings after losses last week at home to No. 12 Mississippi State and No. 16 Mississippi. Libietis slipped from No. 36 to No. 51 in singles after going 2-2 at the top of the lineup since the last ranking period.
Libietis and Reese were ranked No. 17 two weeks ago, but have since started off the SEC season with a 4-0 record. They defeated eighth-ranked Nassim Slilam and Billy Federhofer of Florida 8-4, and they also defeated No. 24 Louis Cant and Malte Stropp of Mississippi State 8-5.
The freshman pair have been the steadiest court in the Vols' lineup and are 12-2 in dual matches at the No. 1 position. Libietis already has a career doubles record of 21-4; Reese is not far behind at 20-4.
High rankings in doubles are nothing new to the Tennessee program. The Vols have boasted the No. 1 ranked at times during the previous three seasons with John-Patrick Smith reaching the top of the rankings with both Davey Sandgren and Boris Conkic.
Rhyne Williams was the last UT freshman to crack the ITA top 10 in doubles. He was ranked as high as fourth with Conkic in 2010.
ITA National Rankings
No. 51 - Mikelis Libietis
No. 7 - Libietis/Reese