Aug. 13, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, IND. -- Tennessee sophomore Hunter Reese and senior John Collins teamed up to win the doubles title Monday at the ITA National Collegiate Summer Circuit Championships.
Reese and Collins defeated Ball State's Patrick Elliott and Cliff Morrison in the the title match 8-5. They started the afternoon with an 8-2 semifinal win over the combined school team of Brady Borhnstedt of Collins College and Will Stein of TCU.
Seeded No. 1 in the draw, the Vol duo lived up to expectations during the two-day doubles tournament. They received a bye in the first round of the draw and won four matches on their way to the title.
"It was tricky to start off the tournament, playing doubles with someone you've never played with in a match," Reese said. "The last week or two, we've worked on a lot of doubles together in practice. Like I said, it was tricky at first, but we really started clicking as the tournament went on."
Reese and Collins earned an additional prize outside of the plaques for winning the doubles tournament Monday: a wild card into the 32-team doubles main draw at the ITA All-American Championships, college tennis' annual outdoor major in October.
This weekend was the first competition in orange and white for Collins, who has transferred to Tennessee from Maryland for his senior year after Maryland cut its men's tennis program. He played No. 1 doubles for the Terps last season and finished the year ranked 22nd nationally with Maros Horny.
Collins is the only current Vol to have played a singles or doubles main draw match at the All-American. He and Horny reached the second round in 2011.
"It's exciting now to have a chance to go back to the All-American," Collins said. "I like the way the courts play there a lot. I hope to do some damage there this time."
Reese has been no slouch in doubles either in his young college career. In their first season at UT, Reese and Mikelis Libietis were ranked as high as seventh nationally and went 23-11 together.
Despite the good record, the pair lost 8 of their last 11 matches, a trend Reese wants to immediately reverse once the fall season begins. Doubles improvement has been among the goals this summer for the Vols' No. 2 singles player, who has logged a significant number of matches in regular and mixed doubles the last few months.
"After the way last year ended in doubles, one of the things I've focused on this summer is being a better mover at the net," Reese said. "I've also played with lots of different partners, which has also helped."
Reese also played his quarterfinal singles match Monday, losing 6-3, 6-4 to Illinois' Farris Gosea.