OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss men's tennis team won the doubles point against No. 17 Mississippi State, but could not find three singles wins, as the Bulldogs topped the Rebels 4-2 here Sunday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
Despite a great day from senior Johan Backstrom, who won both his doubles and singles matches, it was not enough as the Bulldogs picked up wins on courts two, three, five and six to secure the victory.
The match came down to No. 6 singles, where freshman Vinod Gowda won a huge first set tiebreaker 7-6(5) and took a 4-2 lead in the second. He had multiple break points to go up 5-2, but State freshman Tassilo Schmid won nine straight games to take the second set as well a huge lead in the final set. He closed out Gowda 6-1 in the third to clinch, just as Nik Scholtz was serving for his match at No. 1 singles.
Just as that was taking place, junior Nik Scholtz was serving for his 11th win in a row. After winning the first set 6-3, Scholtz dropped the second set to SEC Freshman of the Week, Florian Lakat 6-2. Scholtz saved three break points at 1-2 and 2-3 in the final set and then broke to go up 5-3. He had eight match points in that game, but Lakat staved off all of them. Scholtz has had seven matches go unfinished this year, including four now where he was leading in the third sets.
"The guys fought really hard and did a good job of getting the doubles point to put us in position. The match hinged on six, where Vinod was up a set and 4-2 and actually had break points to go up 5-2. When they were able to win that battle, it really tilted the match," head coach Billy Chadwick said.
The Rebels won the doubles point for only the fourth time overall, and second time in SEC play. Scholtz and freshman Ricardo Jorge defeated. Lakat and Schmid 8-4 at No. 2, and then Backstrom and Joe Rogers won a tiebreaker, 8-7(1) to clinch the point.
State tied it up quickly, when Malte Stropp defeated William Kallberg 6-1, 6-0 on court two. The Rebels regained the lead for a little bit after Backstrom finished off Zach White 6-1, 6-0 at No. 4, but the Bulldogs took it back for good when Jordan Angus held off Stefan Lindmark 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3.
The Rebels are back on the road next weekend traveling to face South Carolina Friday and then No. 15 Florida on Sunday.
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