OXFORD, Miss. – The No. 13 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team defeated 44th-ranked Columbia 4-1 Friday afternoon at the Gillom Sports Center in the team’s season opener and first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
The Rebels will meet NC State, a 4-2 winner over Louisville earlier in the day, at 1 p.m. Saturday. The winner of that match will advance to the National Team Indoor Final 16 in Seattle Feb. 15-18.
Ole Miss got the doubles point and then secured the top three singles matches for the win, two of which went three sets.
“I thought we played well to get the doubles point, and then played exceptional, fought hard at one, two and three,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “We had to get two of them in three sets. This was a very good Columbia team, and we knew that coming in. They’re ranked 44th in the country and that’s very good for an Ivy League team. They don’t get to play the same teams we do throughout the season, so that tells you they win a lot of their matches.”
Sophomore William Kallberg, ranked No. 95 in the nation, downed Ignat 6-2, 6-4 at No. 3 singles to make it 2-0 Ole Miss.
It took a little longer to get the final two points, but the All-Americans came through in three-setters to deliver the win. Both did it differently. Lutjen won his first set 6-2 and served for the match at 5-4 in the second, against Narayana. Four games later, Columbia was back in business winning the set 7-5.
Meanwhile, Scholtz, who had lost his first set 6-4 to Winston Lin, played a great tiebreaker to win the second set 7-6(1).
The final two sets for both however, went the Rebels way. Scholtz won his 6-2 to make it 3-0, and then Lutjen got his 6-1 to finish off the Lions.
“Nik didn’t play as well as he’s capable of playing, but a lot of that had to do with his opponent,” Chadwick said. “He was putting a lot of pressure on Nik, because he was making no errors. Nik actually picked it up and started creating the action. He was kind of getting the cobwebs out since he didn’t go to California with us. He had not been able to play much the last couple of weeks, and it showed. It was good for him to get this match under his belt.”
Scholtz shared an interesting note after the match. He had lost to Lin 6-0, 6-1 at age 18 in an ITF event. Asked when it dawned on him he was playing the same guy, he laughed “When I heard them calling him ‘Winnie’, they used to call him that back then too.”
NC State took the doubles point from Louisville and won in singles at 1, 3 and 4. The last two went three sets.
“We watched their match this morning against Louisville, and it was a real dogfight,” Chadwick said. “They are very good in doubles as well as singles. We saw them up at a Futures tournament we played in the fall. They’ve got a very good team.”
Louisville and Columbia will play at 8 a.m. Saturday in the consolation, with the Rebels and Wolfpack to follow at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
#13 Ole Miss 4, #44 Columbia University 1
Doubles 1. #43 Nik Scholtz/Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. #17 Ashok Narayana/Max Schnur (CU) 8-4 2. #25 William Kallberg/Adrian Skogeng (OM) def. Winston Lin/Nathaniel Gery (CU) 8-5 3. Dragos Ignat/Eric Rubin (CU) def. Stefan Lindmark/Johan Backstrom (OM) 8-7, 7-2 Order of finish: 1, 3, 2 Singles 1. #33 Nik Scholtz (OM) def. #44 Winston Lin (CU) 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 2. #5 Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Ashok Narayana (CU) 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 3. #95 William Kallberg (OM) def. Dragos Ignat (CU) 6-2, 6-4 4. Eric Rubin (CU) def. Johan Backstrom (OM) 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 10-5 5. Stefan Lindmark (OM) vs. Max Schnur (CU) 3-6, unfinished 6. Adrian Skogeng (OM) vs. Bert Vancura (CU) 4-6, unfinished Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 4
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