NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 14 nationally ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team downed 40th-ranked Vanderbilt 6-1 here Friday at the Currey Tennis Center to keep pace in the SEC Western Division. The Rebels improved to 11-5 overall and 7-2 in the SEC.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State are now tied for the lead in the SEC West as the Bulldogs dropped a 6-1 decision at No. 6 Kentucky. The Rebels will face the Wildcats Sunday in Lexington at Noon CT.
Every match in the SEC is tough no matter the rankings, and Vanderbilt didn't make it easy for the Rebels, beginning with the doubles. The Commodores won 9-7 at No. 1 doubles, but the Rebels were able to come away with 8-6 wins at two and three to secure the point.
The Rebels went up 3-0 rather quickly in singles as junior Jonas Lutjen, ranked No. 40 nationally, beat Blake Bazarnik 6-4, 6-0 at No. 3 singles and Johan Backstrom downed Joe Dorn 6-2, 6-3 at No. 6.
Getting the final point proved to be somewhat of a challenge. Vanderbilt's Jeff Offerdahl put the Commodores on the board by defeating this week's SEC Freshman of the Week, William Kallberg, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 at No. 4 singles.
"This was a good win to get," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "We knew it would be close, because they're a good team and playing them at their place. "We are looking forward to a great match at Kentucky. Hopefully we can play well and we'll see what happens."
Chris Thiemann rallied to defeat VU's Anton Kovirgin 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5 singles to clinch the victory. Thiemann had lost four of his last five coming in to the match.
Chris' brother, Marcel Thiemann, defeated Gonzales Austin 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 at No. 2 singles and then freshman Nik Scholtz finished off a comeback of his own at No. 1 singles to beat Charlie Jones. After dropping the first set 6-2, Scholtz was able to claim a second set tiebreaker 14-12 and then gained an early break to win the third set 6-4.
Sunday's match at Kentucky will have live scoring, which can be accessed by going to www.OleMissSports.com and clicking on the link in the calendar.
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