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Libietis Reclaims No. 1 Ranking in Fall Poll



Sep 6, 2013


Junior Mikelis Libietis returned to the No. 1 national ranking in singles and doubles in the ITA's college tennis preseason poll released Friday.

Libietis was one of three Vol juniors in the fall singles rankings. Hunter Reese was at No. 24 and Brandon Fickey at No. 110. In doubles, Libietis and Reese reclaimed the top ranking nationally.

Team rankings are not released until January.

In May, Libietis became the first Vol in program history to simultaneously hold the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles. He is coming off a breakout sophomore season in which he went 37-7 in singles and earned SEC Player of the Year honors. He and Reese were named to the ITA All-Star Team and were honored at the beginning of the U.S. Open.

Libietis is now heading back to Latvia to represent his country in their Davis Cup match against Finland. He is the first active Vol to play Davis Cup since Simon Rea took the court for New Zealand in 2004.

Reese and Fickey are back after enjoying career years. In his second year playing No. 2, Reese finished with 31 wins in singles en route to All-SEC and All-America honors. Fickey missed a month of the season with a shoulder injury but still 24 matches and was ranked as high as 76th nationally at the 3 and 4 positions.

A LOOK AT THE FALL SCHEDULE

Tennessee's fall individual season opens next week with the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens, Ga., a frequent tournament stop for the Vols. The following week, the Vols will compete in the new SEC Fall Classic at Vanderbilt. The event is taking the place of the now-defunct SEC Coaches Indoor Championships and will crown an individual champion in the conference.

As usual, college tennis' two fall major championships will be held in October and November. The ITA All-American Championships are back in Tulsa, Okla., from Sept. 28-Oct. 6. The USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, is Nov. 7-10.

The Vols are hosting one fall event, the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships from Oct. 11-15. The winners of the tournament advances to the USTA/ITA National Indoors. Matches will be played on campus at Goodfriend Tennis Center and across town at the Knoxville Racquet Club.

2013 Tennessee Men's Tennis Fall Schedule
Sept. 13-16: Southern Intercollegiate Championships (Athens, Ga.)
Sept. 19-23: SEC Fall Classic (Nashville, Tenn.)
Sept. 27-29: UTC/Steve Baras Fall Classic (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Sept. 28-Oct. 6: ITA All-American Championships (Tulsa, Okla.)
Oct. 11-15: USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships (Knoxville)
Oct. 24-27: Collegiate Clay Court Invitational (Orlando, Fla.)
Oct. 25-27: Elon Fall Invitational (Elon, N.C.)
Nov. 7-10: USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships (New York)

NEW FACES

The Vols feature four new players on the roster this fall: Sean Karl (Brentwood, Tenn.), Markus Kerner (Tallinn, Estonia), Sunay Bhat (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Andrew Dromsky (Martinez, Ga.).

Karl and Kerner were part of the 2012 November early signing class. After being diagnosed with cancer shortly before the signing period, Karl completed his treatments during the summer before being cleared to enroll at UT and join the Vols. Kerner spent the summer training in Europe and won a doubles title with Libietis.

Bhat was ranked as high as No. 2 in the state of Tennessee by tennisrecruiting.net. He spent time training at ZMG Tennis in Florida.

Dromsky is a junior transfer from Georgia Southern, where he primarily played in the top half of the lineup during his two years with the Eagles. Dromsky and Kerner both bring some height to the Vols' roster; both are listed at 6-foot-5.

ALL-AMERICAN ENTRIES

The ITA also released its entry list for the ITA All-American Championships, the first of the three college tennis major championships.

Libietis and Reese made the main draw for the 64-player singles and 32-team doubles events. Fickey is in qualifying for singles, while senior Jarryd Chaplin is an alternate for qualifying. Chaplin and freshman Markus Kerner are entered in doubles qualifying.

 

 

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