Nov. 9, 2012
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NEW YORK -- Sophomore Mikelis Libietis won a marathon but lost a sprint Friday to finish his stay in singles at the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.
Libietis started his day two-and-a-half hour battle to get past Ole Miss' Jonas Lutjen and followed that with a fast-paced, strong serving 6-3, 6-3 loss to Virginia's Jarmere Jenkins at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The tournament marks the end of the fall season for the Vols, which was largely a productive one. Five Vols racked up at least 10 singles wins, a year after only one player reached double digits. In his first healthy fall, Libietis paced the team with a 14-3 record and five ranked wins.
In his first match Friday, Libietis overcame losing a first-set tiebreaker in which he had his chances to rebound for a 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-2 win over Lutjen to advance to his first career national quarterfinal.
Libietis was up a break early and led the tiebreaker on two occasions before Lutjen came away with the opening set. On his fourth set point, Libietis broke Lutjen to take the second set 7-5 and rolled in the third.
Lutjen was coming off a lengthy three-set upset of second-seeded Ohio State's Peter Kobelt the day before.
Libietis and Jenkins played a much faster, fire-powered game. They rolled through games, oftentimes in less than a minute or two between the service winners and short points.
Libietis was broken at 3-4 in the first set, and Jenkins served out the last game. Jenkins took advantage of Libietis' unforced errors in the second set, breaking the Vols' ace three times. Libietis rallied midway through the set, but it wasn't enough.
In doubles consolation, Libietis and senior John Collins lost 8-4 to Alex Domijan and Richmond Harrison. The Vol duo went winless at National Indoors, losing to the Nos. 1 and 3 seeds.