ATHENS, Ga. (release) -- In a title match with an impossibly narrow margin for error, Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese broke through in the third-set tiebreaker to capture the NCAA Doubles Championship.
Libietis and Reese outlasted the fourth-seeded Ohio State team of Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka in a three setter that featured no breaks of serve 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6).
The Vols' leading duo, ranked first or second nationally all year, had two match points come and go late in the second set off Kobelt's serve, but they settled down in the third set, eventually forcing a deciding third-set tiebreaker.
Metka double faulted at 6-6 in the tiebreaker, giving Libietis an opportunity to serve out the match.
Libietis missed his first serve but got his second in play. Libietis handled a ball that skipped off the top of the net on the approach and Ohio State missed the next shot to give the Vols the 8-6 tiebreaker victory.
Libietis and Reese won two of the three collegiate majors this year, capturing the ITA All-American Championships and the NCAA title Monday. They also reached the finals of the third major -- the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships -- in November.
The NCAA doubles championship is the second in program history, the only other coming in 1980 by Rodney Harmon and Mel Purcell.
The breakthrough at NCAAs has been a long time coming for the Vols after close calls in recent years. John-Patrick Smith reached a singles final in 2008 and back-to-back NCAA Doubles Championships
They finish the year 36-5, including 13-1 in the major championships.
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