March 26, 2011
OXFORD, Miss. – Rain forced the Ole Miss men’s tennis team inside for their match against South Carolina, but it didn’t put a damper on the action, as the Rebels, ranked No. 23 in the nation, downed the Gamecocks 6-0 here Saturday at the Gillom Sports Center. With the win, the Rebels picked up their 10th victory of the season and improved to 4-2 in the SEC.
Despite the fact the Rebels had to play indoors for their third straight home SEC match, head coach Billy Chadwick said he was proud of the team for taking care of business.
“The guys were focused. We were disappointed we didn’t get to play outside, but we are really appreciative of the fans that hung around. We had a great crowd. We did a great job of not overlooking a dangerous South Carolina team and really played well from top to bottom,” Chadwick said.
With the match being played indoors, the two teams elected to start with singles. Sophomore Jonas Lutjen put the Rebels on the board first with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 win over Gamecock Chip Cox at No. 3. Marcel Thiemann, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, made it 2-0 when he finished off Ivan Machado 6-1, 6-4 at No. 1. Thiemann is now 4-2 in the SEC, all at No. 1 singles.
“I felt good. I won the first set pretty easily. He changed his game in the second set, but I was still able to get it done,” said Thiemann on his straight set win. “Coach reminded us that we still had to win this match here [and not overlook them]. Everybody was focused and did a great job. The LSU match was a wake-up call. We realized that we have to be ready to go and stayed focused in every match. We’ve done that the last four matches.”
Senior Tucker Vorster rallied to defeat Alexander Kostanov 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 to give the Rebels a 3-0 advantage. Vorster is 4-1 in conference play now.
It was a battle between junior Chris Thiemann and freshman Johan Backstrom as to who would clinch the match. With both up a set and serving for their respective matches Backstrom won his 6-3, 6-1 against Johannes Pulsfort at No. 5, seconds before Thiemann to seal the win. Thiemann took out Nick Jones 7-5, 6-3 at four to make it 5-0.
Adrian Forberg Skogeng defeated Harry Menzies 7-5, 6-0 at No. 6 to complete the shutout.
Afterwards, Chadwick talked of next weekend’s big matches against Georgia and Tennessee. It’s perhaps the biggest weekend the Rebels have had since hosting these same two teams two years ago. Georgia is currently ranked No. 11 and Tennessee is ranked No. 2.
“You’ve got two of the best teams in the country coming to Oxford and we need a big crowd out there. We’re going to need to be at our best to make something happen. Any time that you have the caliber of teams that we have coming here next weekend, it’s exciting, and we have a great rivalry going with Georgia and Tennessee. They will be at their best, because they both have a lot on the line too. We’re looking forward to a great weekend of tennis,” Chadwick said.
The Rebels will face Georgia Friday at 5 p.m. and fans will enjoy free hot dogs. Sunday’s match against Tennessee is set for 1 p.m. Both matches will be played at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center, weather permitting.
1. Thiemann-Thiemann (OM) vs. Machado-Jones (SC) DNP
2. Vorster-Norberg (OM) vs. Kostanov-Cox (SC) DNP
3. Lutjen-Backstrom (OM) vs. Menzies-Sheehan (SC) DNP
1. Marcel Thiemann (OM) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 6-1, 6-4
2. Tucker Vorster (OM) def. Alexander Kostanov (SC) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
3. Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Chip Cox (SC) 6-2, 6-2
4. Chris Thiemann (OM) def. Nick Jones (SC) 7-5, 6-3
5. Johan Backstrom (OM) def. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 6-3, 6-1
6. Adrian Forberg Skogeng (OM) def. Harry Menzies (SC) 7-5, 6-0
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 5, 4, 6