Tennessee heads to first final site from road regional in program history
DURHAM, N.C. -- The Tennessee Volunteers are heading back to the final site of the NCAA championships. With a team effort across the courts Sunday, the Vols defeated 11th-seeded Duke 4-2 in a nearly four-hour thriller that featured four three-set matches.
The victory sends the Vols to the round of 16 at the final tournament site in Athens, Georgia. The Vols will face UCLA on Friday.
Sophomore Bartosz Sawicki delivered a 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 victory on court No. 6, putting the Vols up 3-2.
Tennessee needed only one point to clinch from either All-Americans Hunter Reese or Mikelis Libietis on courts Nos. 1 and 2.
Libietis faced match points in the second set and fell behind 3-0 to start the third, but he locked down as Sawicki finished his match two courts away. With his teammates cheering at his back, Libietis reeled off six games in a row to beat Fred Saba 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 and clinch the match.
Reese, who was leading his final set 4-3, ran off his court to celebrate with his doubles partner. Hours earlier, the two clinched the doubles point with a win on court No. 1.
The victory marked the first time the Vols have advanced to the final site from a road regional site. The Vols have a 19-7 record in the NCAA championships under head coach Sam Winterbotham.