WACO, Texas – The Ole Miss men’s tennis team gave No. 7 Baylor all it wanted on its home court here Sunday at the Hurd Tennis Center, before falling 4-0 to conclude their first road trip of the season 1-1. On Saturday, the Rebels shut out SMU 4-0.
The Rebels (2-3) had an excellent chance to take the doubles point, and then five of the six singles went three sets.
“We played a good match against SMU, and then we competed hard today against a very good Baylor team,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “We had some looks. We played really well in doubles and played well at Backstrom’s court. The other guys played well too, we were right in it until the end. It was a good performance by Ricardo to be in the thick of things in his first action. We were so close. Now we just need to work on some things in practice and prepare for our SEC home opener.”
Tennis is a game of opportunity, and the Rebels missed a huge one to start the match. One break decided the No. 3 doubles match 8-5 in favor of Baylor, while Nik Scholtz and Ricardo Jorge won 8-6 at No. 2 doubles. The point came down to the No. 1 match, where Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark saw their 6-2 lead erased as the Baylor tandem of Patrick Pradella and Mate Zsiga stormed back to tie at 7-7. They won the tiebreaker 7-3 to give Baylor the 1-0 lead.
In singles, Baylor won four first sets and the Rebels two. In one of those matches, Lindmark fell to 18th-ranked Diego Galeano 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3. That made it 2-0.
After dropping the first set at six, redshirt freshman Vinod Gowda took the second set 6-1 to square his match against Vince Schneider. Schneider broke early and won the decisive set 6-2 to put the Bears up 3-0.
Backstrom won a close first set against Tony Lupieri at No. 4 singles, 6-4, but Lupieri evened the match, winning the second set 6-1. Backstrom had a couple match points in the third set at 5-3 and 5-4, but Lupieri answered each time and eventually won the set 7-5 to close out the Rebels 4-0.
When the match was stopped, Scholtz was just starting his third set at No. 1 against ninth-ranked Pradella, Jorge had just won a second set tiebreaker to go to a third, and William Kallberg was in the third set at two.
The Rebels will open SEC play Friday, Feb. 28 against Auburn at 2 p.m. at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center, weather permitting. Fans will get an Ole Miss tennis bucket hat and the first of our collector posters, Scholtz.
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