Doubles sometimes gets lost in the world of tennis.
Not at Tennessee.
Four matches ago, UT coach Sam Winterbotham wasn’t satisfied with his team’s doubles play, so he pulled a switcheroo.
Jarryd Chaplin moved from No. 1 doubles — where he was playing with No. 1 singles player Mikelis Libietis — down to No. 3 doubles with Brandon Fickey.
Meanwhile, Hunter Reese moved from No. 3 doubles with Fickey back to No. 1, where he played with Libietis last season. Reese and Libietis were 23-12 in 2012 and ranked as high as No. 7 nationally.
The move worked.
The No. 6-ranked Vols (15-5, 2-2 SEC) won their fourth consecutive doubles point since the change on their way to a 4-1 victory over South Carolina (11-6, 1-2) on Friday at Barksdale Stadium.
“We played really well last year and we’ve done really good this year,” Reese said of the doubles with Libietis. “Brandon and I were playing well at 3. I guess we were just looking for a little change at 1. They decided to switch us up, and it’s worked out.”
On Friday, Libietis and Reese won 8-4 at No. 1 doubles. Not long after UT’s Ed Jones and John Collins lost at No. 2, Fickey and Chaplin won 8-4 at No. 3 and improved to 4-0 since the change.
“My game style lends itself to doubles play, and I feel it’s a little bit to the culture,” said Australia’s Chaplin, one of the Vols’ best doubles players. “Australians practice their doubles a lot, and I’ve traveled enough to know most other countries don’t.”
Libietis and Reese, ranked No. 17 in doubles, are 3-0 since the change.
“We’ve always known that Hunter and Mikelis can play very well together, so we thought we’d give it a shot,” Winterbotham said. “John and Ed, being as solid as they’ve been at 2, wouldn’t really help to make the switch because we thought 2 would compete every time, not necessarily win every time, and at 1 and 3, if we can get the same mentality there, we’re in good shape.”
Collins never trailed at No. 6 singles on his way to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Chaplin gave the Vols a 3-0 lead with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory at No. 4. After Jones lost at No. 5, Reese clinched the match with a 6-4, 6-1 victory at No. 2.
“We’re done, boys!” Reese yelled.
UT plays host to Florida on Sunday at 1 p.m.