Greg Jones beats UT's Mikelis Libietis to advance at Knoxville Challenger

Australia's Greg Jones didn't get much of a scouting report in his first-round qualifying match Sunday for the $50,000 Knoxville Challenger.

About all he knew was Mikelis Libietis plays No. 1 singles for the University of Tennessee, and Libietis got an entry into the qualifier.

"A couple of Australians on the (UT) team told me he played for the college," Jones said. "They were very tight-lipped, though, pro-Orange. They didn't want to tell me anything about him."

So Jones, the No. 3 seed in the qualifier, figured it out on his own while beating Libietis 7-5, 6-3 and advancing to today's second day of qualifying.

Jones and three other qualifiers must win two more matches today to advance to the main draw, which starts Tuesday.

It's a tough road for Jones, 23, who was ranked No. 187 in the world in February but saw his ranking drop due to a knee injury and poor results coming back. He's now ranked 361.

"It's tough because there's a lot of depth at this level, so you've got to win three pretty difficult matches in qualifying just to get in," Jones said. "By that stage, if you win one or two rounds in the main draw, you've played four or five matches and you're exhausted."

The hard-serving Libietis, a sophomore from Latvia, broke serve for a 2-1 lead in the first set, and after losing his serve, had two more break points at 4-all.

Jones managed to hold serve, and with Libietis serving at 5-6, broke serve to win the first set.

Jones broke again early in the second set and held serve the rest of the way. He won three of four break points, while Libietis won one of nine.

"I had a couple of chances in the first set and didn't use them, and then at 6-5 he returned really good," Libietis said. "It was a good match, and good experience."

UT's other wild-card entries in the qualifier also lost in Sunday's first round.

Fourth-seeded qualifier Fritz Wolmarans beat the Vols' Ed Jones, 6-2, 6-1; Alexis Musialek beat John Collins, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2; and Edward Corrie beat Taylor Patrick 6-1, 6-1.

Former UT player Adam Hubble beat Andrew Carter 6-2, 6-7, 7-5.

Brandon Fickey and Jarryd Chaplin earned UT's two spots into the main draw via an inter-squad tournament among the Vols.

Fickey beat Libietis 7-6, 1-6, (10-6) in the final, but Libietis couldn't play the main draw because he's playing the ITA National Indoors starting Thursday in New York. Chaplin beat Hunter Reese for third place in UT's inter-squad.

"It's going to be fun," Fickey said. "Nothing to lose."

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