OXFORD, Miss. -- For the second time in five days, the No. 16 ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss, this time to No. 6 Georgia here Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
After dropping the doubles point for the second match in a row, the Rebels (6-4, 3-1) rebounded in singles just as they did against Tennessee, before coming up just short at No. 5 singles. With the score locked at 3-3, all eyes turned to a battle between two sophomores, Johan Backstrom for the Rebels and Bulldog Hernus Pieters. Pieters won a close first set in a tiebreaker, but Backstrom came back to take the second set 6-2. In the final set, Backstrom had break points at 4-3, but Pieters held. At 4-4, Backstrom had several game points on his serve, but Pieters converted the break to go up 5-4. Backstrom then got to 0-40 on Pieters’ serve, but the Bulldog fought them off to win it 6-4 and clinch the victory.
“Obviously we’re disappointed to lose another very close match,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “We played really well, but just came up short. We played great at one, two and three singles. We played well at four; it was just two games that we didn’t serve well. We had a lot of chances on Backy’s court, but just got extremely unlucky. Three break points at 4-3, four game points in the next game and 0-40 in the last game. We’re getting better, but this would have been a great win to get. We’ll go back to work this week.”
Georgia picked up the early 1-0 lead in doubles with wins on courts 1 and 3. Ole Miss grabbed the victory on the remaining court as the No. 2 team of Jonas Lutjen and Nik Scholtz beat Sadio Doumbia and Nathan Pasha, 8-6.
Ole Miss then fell behind 2-0 as Pasha continued his hot streak finishing off a 6-3, 6-0 win over Adrian Forberg Skogeng at No. 6. Pasha has been very reliable at that spot, improving to 11-1.
Ole Miss cut the lead in half as No. 48 ranked Lutjen defeated No. 11 Doumbia, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 3 singles, making it 2-1, and 55th-ranked Scholtz tied things at 2-2 with his impressive 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win over No. 3 ranked Spencer at the top spot. Spencer is now 0-2 against the Rebels this spring, also losing to William Kallberg in the quarterfinals of the SEC Indoor Championships. Scholtz improved to 8-1 at No. 1 singles and 4-0 in the SEC.
Georgia went back up 3-2 as 43rd-ranked Ignacio Taboada pulled out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 49 ranked Kallberg at No. 4. But just like that it was tied again, as senior Marcel Thiemann won a third set tiebreaker at No. 2 singles against KU Singh to even the score with just court five left to decide it.
The Rebels will now head to Florida for spring break where they will play Division II powerhouse West Florida Saturday, March 17 at 10 a.m.
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