SEATTLE -- In another classic battle between two of the SEC’s best, the No. 12 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team defeated No. 14 ranked Tennessee in consolation play at the ITA National Team Indoor here Saturday at the Seattle Tennis Club.
The Rebels won the doubles point and secured straight-set wins at Nos. 5 and 1 singles before senior Adrian Forberg Skogeng clinched a three-setter at No. 6 singles to end the matter. With the win, the Rebels improved to 4-2 and will face Mississippi State Sunday at 1 p.m. CT in their final match of the tournament. This will mark the Rebels’ third straight SEC opponent after dropping their opening match to No. 6 Georgia. The Bulldogs from Starkville defeated Texas A&M 4-0 Saturday.
“This was a big win for the team,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “It was another tight match, but we are proud of the guys for pushing through and getting the victory. We really needed this one, and we’re going to look back later, and say this was a great match to get.”
After Tennessee won 8-4 at No. 2 doubles, Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark answered with an 8-4 win at No. 3 against Hunter Reese and Brandon Fickey. The top spot featured 16th-ranked Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen against the 26th-ranked Vol duo of Mikelis Libietis and Jarryd Chaplin. The All-American Rebel tandem gained a break at 5-5 and leading 7-6, Scholtz served out the 8-6 win to clinch the point.
Each team won three first sets in singles. Lindmark, the lone freshman in the lineup for the Rebels, rebounded from a tough first match against Georgia to post a 6-1, 7-5 win against Tennessee senior John Collins at No. 5 singles, to put the Rebels ahead 2-0. With the win, Lindmark improved to 3-1 at No. 5 singles.
In a matchup between two of the SECs top No. 1 players, 24th-ranked Scholtz bested 11th-ranked Libietis 7-5, 6-3 to push the lead to 3-0. Scholtz moved to 12-3 overall and 4-1 at No. 1. He also improved to 2-1 against Libietis.
Tennessee avoided the shutout and kept their hopes alive when 87th-ranked Brandon Fickey finished off a 7-5, 6-3 win over Johan Backstrom at No. 5 singles.
Forberg Skogeng had to rally to do it, but he took out Vol Ed Jones 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to clinch the match.
Both Lutjen and William Kallberg were locked in tight third sets at two and three singles, respectively. Lutjen could have clinched it earlier, holding a match point, serving at 5-3, but was at deuce when play was suspended.
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