M TENNIS CENTRAL: Southern Intercollegiates

Sept. 12, 2013


ATHENS, Ga. -- Senior Colton Norton and three freshmen will open the fall tennis season Friday at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships.

The tournament is one of the oldest annual events in college tennis and features several other SEC schools, including Georgia, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The event ends runs through Monday.

Markus Kerner, the Vols' 6-foot-5 freshman from Estonia, is the team's only competitor in the top 64-player draw. He will make his career singles debut against Armstrong Atlantic's Pablo Gore.

The three other Vols will be competing in the Division II draw, notable freshman Sean Karl, who will be playing his first match since being diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago. The Brentwood, Tenn., native is the No. 6 seed in the second draw against Luke Synn of Furman.

Norton and Knoxville's own Sunay Bhat are in the Division II draw in both singles and doubles. Karl and Kerner and in the Division I doubles draw together.

Most of the team returns to action next week at the new SEC Fall Classic hosted by Vanderbilt.

Top-ranked singles and doubles junior Mikelis Libietis returned to Latvia to represent his country against Finland this weekend in the Davis Cup, the annual international competition in which nations compete against each other over a three-day series of matches.

He is scheduled to play two singles matches over the weekend, starting Friday against Micke Kontinen. He will play again on Sunday. All the matches will be played at Arena Riga on a hard indoor court in Latvia's capital.

Latvia is led by Ernests Gulbis, who is ranked 36th in the world in singles. Thanks to a strong July and August on the Futures Circuit, Libietis is currently No. 683.

Libietis is the first active Vol to play Davis Cup since Simon Rea took the court for New Zealand in 2004 as a senior. Ten Vols have played Davis Cup, and two of those members are on the team: Libietis and Kerner, who has represented Estonia twice this year.

Libietis previously played Davis Cup in 2011 in a road match against Greece shortly before joining Tennessee.

Associate head coach Chris Woodruff played for the United States in 2000, recording a clinching win over Zimbabwe.





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