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Libietis, Reese Set for NCAA Singles, Doubles

May 20, 2014


 

ATHENS, Ga. -- Tennessee juniors Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese start singles Wednesday and doubles Thursday at the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.

The draw was released Tuesday.

Libietis opens the tournament with a 9 a.m. match against Diego Galeano, the No. 3 position singles player from Baylor. Reese starts at 10:30 a.m. with a rematch against UCLA's Marcos Giron, the second-ranked player in the country.

Libietis, ranked 34th nationally, has a 23-13 record this year. He reached the finals of the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships for the second time and earned first-team All-SEC honors for the third time in his career.

Reese, ranked 27th, played No. 1 in the Vols' lineup for most of SEC play and in the postseason. He became the first Vol to win the ohio valley regional singles titles and enters the singles championships with a 25-9 record. He has three victories over top-10 opponents this season.

In doubles, Libietis and Reese are seeded second in the championships. They have been ranked first or second in the national doubles rankings all year and have a 31-5 record.

They are in their third NCAA doubles tournament together and enter this week's event having put together their best year in collegiate major events. They won the ITA All-American Championships in October and reached the finals of the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.

Both tournaments conclude Monday.

A YEAR AT THE MAJORS

While Libietis and Reese won't be making a bid for the doubles grand slam of college majors, they were close to making that attempt. They were just one win shy of sweeping the fall majors.

The UT duo became the third UT team in program history to win the ITA All-American Championships in October on the outdoor courts of Tulsa, Okla. A month later, they reached the finals of the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in New York.

Only one UT doubles team has won the title, though plenty have come close. Mel Purcell and Rodney Harmon won the doubles title in 1980.

John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren were two-time finalists, reaching the title match in 2009 and 2010.

AWINTERBOTHAM ERA: NCAA SINGLES & DOUBLES

The Vols have excelled in the NCAA singles and doubles championships during Sam Winterbotham's eight-year coaching era at Tennessee. Take a look at these numbers:

16 - Total NCAA singles invitations. The Vols have had at least one invitation all eight years, including three in both 2010 and 2011.

9 - Total NCAA doubles invitations. The Vols have had at least one team reach the exclusive 32-team doubles tournament every year, including two in 2010. That season, the Vols had three doubles teams ranked in the top 10 most of the year.

2 - NCAA singles finalists. John-Patrick Smith made it as a freshman in 2008. Rhyne Williams reached the title match as a sophomore in 2011, only by beating doubles partner and roommate Tennys Sandgren in the semifinals.

2 - NCAA doubles finalists. Smith and Sandgren reached the finals in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010, losing a pair of close three setters. Smith eventually won a singles and doubles major title at the 2009 ITA All-American Championships.

4 - Consecutive years in which a Vol was represented in either the NCAA singles or doubles final, a streak which lasted from 2008-2011.

 

 

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