NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the second SEC match in a row, Ole Miss men’s tennis sophomore Stefan Lindmark came up big, clinching a 4-2 win for the Rebels against No. 18 Tennessee in the second round of the SEC Tournament here Friday at the Currey Tennis Center.
With the win, the Rebels advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round where they will face the No. 3 seed, Kentucky, at 9 a.m.
Ole Miss won a huge doubles point and then earned straight set wins from Johan Backstrom and Nik Scholtz to set up Lindmark’s clinching victory at No. 3 singles. Lindmark found himself in a similar situation as the Texas A&M match, up a set and a break in the second against Jarryd Chaplin. After Lindmark won the first set 6-3, Chaplin was able to win the second set in a tiebreaker 7-6(4) to force a third set and keep his team’s chances alive. Lindmark faced several break points on his serve in the first game, but held and shut out Chaplin 6-0 to clinch the 4-2 victory.
“This is exactly the type of match we expected,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “Every single match in the conference, the margins are so small, it comes down to one or two hits of the ball. I’ll give them credit, (Jarryd) Chaplin at 3, in the tiebreaker really played great. He was all on it, putting pressure on us. I felt like we won that one when we had some great hits and break points on us the first game of the third. Stefan wormed his way through that one and then we found our game.”
The doubles point was an exciting one, as the Rebels raced to a big lead at one and had a break at three, but the Vols rallied to tie both matches. Johan Backstrom and Joe Rogers led UT’s Brandon Fickey and Bartosz Sawickci 6-4, but UT would force a tiebreaker. Tennessee had a match point before the Reb duo won three straight points to win it 8-7(7).
At No. 1, Kallberg and Lindmark got off to a fast start up 5-2 on the nation’s No. 1 team, Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese, before the Vol duo came back to even it up at 5. The Rebels were able to break Reese’s serve at 6-5 and then Kallberg served it out for 8-5 to clinch the early momentum. The win marked the second consecutive top-8 win for 51st-ranked Kallberg and Lindmark, who beat the No. 6 ranked team in the win over Texas A&M last weekend.
“The doubles was huge,” Chadwick said. “They had a match point in the doubles, but all the doubles are very, very close.”
The Rebels were able to take four first sets in singles to keep momentum, while the Vols won two. In the two they won, Tennessee ended up taking both matches to go ahead 2-1 in the overall match. Libietis won two tight sets against Kallberg 7-6, 6-4, and then Andrew Dromsky handed freshman Ricardo Jorge a 7-6, 6-1 loss on court five.
Backstrom finished a 2-0 day, defeating Brandon Fickey 6-4, 6-3 at No. 4 to even the match, and then Nik Scholtz gave the Rebels a 3-2 lead by winning a huge second set tiebreaker. Scholtz, ranked No. 18 in the nation dominated 27th-ranked Hunter Reese 6-1 in the first set, but faced three set points, in the second set tiebreaker. At 7-8, Scholtz won three straight points to clinch the match 6-1, 7-6(8) to put the Rebels ahead and set up Lindmark’s clinching match.
“I would like to give a shout out our lone senior Johan,” Chadwick said. “He really played well. He beat a good player, (Fickey) in straight sets. And then a great job all year long by our No. 1 player Nik Scholtz. He may be the premier player of the league.”
Fans can follow Friday’s match against Kentucky with live scoring. In the first meeting in Lexington, weather forced the match indoors. It was a very close affair with Kentucky coming out on top 4-1.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis. Also, follow @SECMTennis for updates throughout the tournament. Use the hashtag #SECMT14 when tweeting about the tournament.
UPDATE: Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Listen: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman Show... read more
All 14 Southeastern Conference football coaches will travel to ESPN's annual mid-summer football coaches "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day - at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Ole... read more
Ole Miss took its turn at the annual SEC Media Days on Thursday. Joining head coach Hugh Freeze was senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and senior safety Cody Prewitt. Here are a few related SEC Media... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on day one that his expectations were to make the program relevant in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. With a full allotment of 85 scholarship players and more depth of both sides of... read more
Once overshadowed, Wallace now finds himself more firmly in the spotlight after the departure of seven of the league's eight top passers. The dean of SEC quarterbacks, Wallace is the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing... read more
Before taking his turn at the podium in the main room at SEC Media Days on Thursday, head coach Hugh Freeze met with members of the Ole Miss local media and addressed a wide variety of topics. Here are some... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Three of SEC Media Days, which featured Steve Shaw (SEC), Justin Connolly (ESPN),... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Two of SEC Media Days, which featured South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M... read more
NFL.com CFB 24/7 has counted down the 14 college football players to watch -- and some other college football topics -- in varying categories in 2014. Below are the highlights for Ole Miss and the link to the complete 14... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day 1 of SEC Media Days, which featured SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Auburn, Florida... read more
Former Ole Miss player Zack Cozart, now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was named the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half of the 2014 season. ESPN Insider Scott Spratt selected one player from either league at... read more
The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Bound from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 1: Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 2: Super Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 3: CWS Games 1 & 2... read more
Three student-athletes and the head coach of each of the 14 Southeastern Conference football programs will participate in SEC Football Media Days, July 14-17, at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.Ole Miss will take its... read more
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy talks about the addition of assistant coach Tony Madlock and the new-look roster for the upcoming season, among other topics, on the SEC Summer Men's Basketball Coaches Media Teleconference Monday. Here are the highlights:Ole... read more