53 F

Rebel Netters Book Ticket to Chicago ITA Invitational

Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain
Photo by UM photographer Kevin Bain

Their first match went down to the very end, so one had to wonder if the Ole Miss men’s tennis team had anything left in the tank for Sunday’s ITA Kick-Off Championship match against South Carolina. Turns out the Rebels had plenty left, as they rallied yet again to defeat South Carolina 4-2 and advance to the National Team Indoor Final 16 in Chicago.

South Carolina (3-1) came in to the championship match after beating Stanford 4-1, and they looked ready to book their ticket to Chicago in the beginning of Sunday’s match. Once again Ole Miss (3-0) never gave up.

Saturday’s win against No. 13 Florida hinged on a huge second set tiebreak from  sophomore Ricardo Jorge, which he won to extend the match to a third set, allowing freshman Gustav Hansson the opportunity to clinch.

Sunday, it was the seniors’ turn to come up big.  Nik Scholtz and William Kallberg both won second set tiebreakers at No. 1 (7-1) and 4 singles (7-3), respectively, to turn the tide.

With Kallberg up a 4-3 in the third set against 83rd-ranked Andrew Schafer, Scholtz’s opponent, 70th-ranked Thiago Phineiro, retired down 3-1 in the third, as the Rebels clinched the 4-2 victory.

“Another incredible college tennis match,” head coach Toby Hansson said. “South Carolina is a very tough team and we knew that coming in. They had great energy in doubles and then we got off to a little bit of a slow start in singles, with the exception of Gustav and Ricardo.  We hung in there, and we were able to turn it around again. Huge credit goes to our strength and conditioning coach, Angela Baker. All the hard work she did with us in the fall and leading up to this tournament, made a difference in both matches.”

The Gamecocks won a pair of matches at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles to take the early 1-0 lead and then won four of six first sets to put the Rebels behind the eight ball for a second straight day.

The hero on Saturday, Hansson didn’t need three sets Sunday, downing Gamecock senior Kyle Koch 6-3, 6-1 at No. 3 singles to even the match 1-1.

“Gus played a really solid match today,” Coach Hansson said. That guy is a very tough out.  He wins a lot of matches for them. Gus was able to neutralize him. He is a big server, but Gus was able to keep him off the net. He was very comfortable out there and looked confident. Impressive to come back after a tough, physical match the day before. Once again, that goes back to the hard work these guys put in with Angela. It’s nice to get rewarded in these matches.”

South Carolina regained the lead, when Harrison O’Keefe won a close match against Rebel freshman Zvonimir Babic at No. 5 singles, 6-4, 7-5.

Jorge came up big again Sunday, defeating Gamecock Thomas Mayronne 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 to square the match at 2.

As a freshman Stefan Lindmark was clutch for the Rebels, winning several huge matches, and then again last year, most notably clinching the win over then No. 10 Texas A&M. Sunday featured more of the same for the Swedish lefty. Against Gamecock Andrew Adams, Lindmark found himself down a set, but just as he did in the win over Florida, Lindmark rallied to win, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to give the Rebels a 3-2 lead.

“I never got tired, and I could tell he was getting tired,” Lindmark said. “He started missing shots. All the hard work in the fall has paid off. When it looked bleak, we showed our true strength. We are a tough team and we will fight until the end. It’s extremely exciting to advance. It’s a great feeling.  We are very confident we are going to have a great season.”

“The guys deserve this win,” Coach Hansson said. “They earned it through many hours of hard work.”

The draw for the National Team Indoor Final 16 will be announced at a later date.  This marks the 19th time for the Rebels to advance to the National Team Indoor, which will be hosted by Illinois Feb. 13-16 at the Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports Information. For more information on Ole Miss Men’s Tennis, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissMTennis, on Facebook at OleMissMTennis and on Instagram at OleMissMTennis.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Most Popular

Recent Comments

scamasdscamith on News Watch Ole Miss
Frances Phillips on A Bigger, Better Student Union
Grace Hudditon on A Bigger, Better Student Union
Millie Johnston on A Bigger, Better Student Union
Binary options + Bitcoin = $ 1643 per week: https://8000-usd-per-day.blogspot.com.tr?b=46 on Beta Upsilon Chi: A Christian Brotherhood
Jay Mitchell on Reflections: The Square
Terry Wilcox SFCV USA RET on Oxford's Five Guys Announces Opening Date
Stephanie on Throwback Summer
organized religion is mans downfall on VP of Palmer Home Devotes Life to Finding Homes for Children
Paige Williams on Boyer: Best 10 Books of 2018
Keith mansel on Cleveland On Medgar Evans
kihyun on