KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Senior Marcel Thiemann came up huge for the No. 23 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team Sunday, teaming with his brother to clinch the doubles point and then winning his singles match in straight sets to lead the Rebels to a 4-0 win over No. 15 Oklahoma in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
The Rebels advanced to Monday’s 4 pm CT final where they will face No. 24 Tennessee for the right to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Finals in Charlottesville, Va. Feb. 17-20.
Ole Miss got on the board first by taking the all important doubles point in dramatic fashion. Oklahoma won the No. 3 match 8-5, and the Rebels claimed the No. 2 match 8-5. The No. 1 match between the twin tandem of Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann and the Sooner pair of Costin Paval and Dane Webb was quite interesting with neither team able to hold serve. It eventually went to a tiebreaker. At 6-6 in the breaker, Chris hit another big serve and then a huge overhead winner by the twins on the next point clinched the 1-0 lead for the Rebels.
Head coach Billy Chadwick stated before the event that this was considered the toughest first round match of any of the 16 sites, and it lived up to its billing. The final score was very deceiving, and the doubles point proved to be a huge lift for the Rebels.
“It was a great team effort top to bottom,” Chadwick said. “The doubles was tight, but we fought really hard to win the point. It was great to have the two seniors there when the match was on the line.”
In singles, the Rebels were able to win five first sets including two big tiebreakers on courts one and three with freshman Nik Scholtz and junior Jonas Lutjen. Both were down in the first sets.
Freshman William Kallberg has had quite the start to his young career reaching the quarterfinals at the SEC Indoor and beating the nation’s No. 3 ranked player. He stepped up Sunday to defeat 38th-ranked Tsvetan Mihov 6-4, 6-4 at No. 4 singles to make it 2-0 Ole Miss.
After taking his first set in a tiebreak 7-2, Lutjen dominated the second set against 39th ranked Peerakit Siriutwong 6-2 to put the Rebels within one.
With the Rebels trailing on court six, locked in a third set at five and in a tough battle at No.1, Marcel finished off the Sooners’ Dane Webb 6-4, 6-4 to send the Rebels on to the finals.
“William played really well. He’s doing a fantastic job of going after his serve. His left-handed forehand is a weapon, and he used it to his advantage,” Chadwick said. “Jonas played a great match. We were down in the first sets with Jonas and Nik. Both did a good job of coming back. Oklahoma had a match point on us in doubles and they were winning at six, so it could have been a lot closer. The guys did an excellent job closing out the match.”
Monday’s final will feature live scoring, as well as a live blog and live video streaming. To access the match central page, go to www.OleMissSports.com and click on the link in the calendar.
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