KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Junior Hunter Reese won Tennessee's first singles title Tuesday at the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championship after teammate Mikelis Libietis retired with injury in the second set.
Libietis won the first set but was slowed down as the match progressed with a back injury that bothered him Monday during the quarterfinals and semifinals. Reese got a break in the set before Libietis retired at 4-6, 3-1 at Goodfriend Tennis Center.
By virtue of his title, Reese automatically qualifies for the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in November in New York. Libietis, as the top-ranked player in the country, could receive an at-large bid in the 32-player field.
The pair will be making the trip in doubles, having won the ITA All-American Championships last week.
The crowd was almost silent during the match, refusing to take sides as the teammates took the court for the title match. Both Vols had opportunities, but Libietis eventually closed out the set by breaking Reese's serve at 5-4.
Libietis and Reese held serve to start the second set, but Reese broke Libietis' serve at 1-1. He held serve to go up 3-1 when Libietis retired.
Reese now has two individual singles titles, having won the Wake Forest Spring Invitational in January 2013. He is 2-1 in finals.
This was Libietis' second appearance in the regional final and the second time to come up just short of the title. He is 2-2 in individual finals and is the two-time champion at the Tennessee Fall Invitational.
Two years ago as freshmen, Libietis and Reese teamed up for the first time to win the Ohio Valley Regional doubles title here in Knoxville.