How Sweet it is for Men's Tennis
May 13, 2018


PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Not many in the college tennis world gave the Ole Miss men's tennis team much hope to advance out of the Stanford regional, but the Rebels believed, and on Sunday they came back from the brink of defeat to oust No. 4 seed Stanford 4-3 at the Taube Tennis Stadium and advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

It was an epic college tennis match that came down to the last court with freshman Finn Reynolds battling Stanford sophomore William Genesen at No. 6 singles. The winner would take their team to the Sweet Sixteen, the loser's season would be over. 

Genesen got the upper hand early winning the first set 6-3, but Reynolds battled back in the second set. At 5-5, Genesen broke Reynolds and served for the match, but Reynolds broke right back to force a tiebreaker. Genesen raced out to a 6-3 lead, but one-by-one, Reynolds saved all the match points and won the breaker 8-6 to force a winner-take-all third set. 

With the home crowd on his side, Genesen broke to start the third set and led 2-0, but Reynolds broke right back. He never blinked after that, closing out the set 6-2 and the match, as his teammates mobbed him on the court.

During the season, the Rebels faced plenty of adversity with multiple injuries, including losing their No. 1 player, Gustav Hansson, for two months. Head coach Toby Hansson encouraged the team to keep believing and fighting for an NCAA berth and you never know what might happen once you get there. The Rebels came up with a huge win against South Carolina at the SEC Tournament to assure themselves a 25th consecutive NCAA bid, setting them up for this historic weekend.

In the opening round, the Rebels topped Duke 4-3 to set up the first NCAA match against Stanford since 1997. The Cardinal came into Sunday undefeated at home this season and having not lost an NCAA home match since 2006. 

Ole Miss played great doubles again Sunday taking a pair of 7-5 wins on courts three and one for the 1-0 lead. 

Filip Kraljevic defeated Sameer Kumar 7-5 6-3 on court three to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead, but Stanford reeled off three consecutive wins on courts four, one and five, to go up 3-2. 

Sophomore Tim Sandkaulen came up with a huge win, taking out former junior World No. 1 Alex Geller 7-5, 6-3 at No. 2 singles to even the match 3-3 and set up his teammate for the match-clinching victory.

Quick Hits...
• The Rebels are now 16-12 overall.
• The Rebels improved to 53-26 in the NCAA Tournament.
• Ole Miss advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the 17th time in program history and first since 2012.
• It’s also the first time a No. 4 national seed has been eliminated before the round of 16 since the NCAA went to the current format in 1999.
• This marks the Rebels first top-five win since 2009.
• The Rebels beat Stanford for the first time in four meetings.
• Ole Miss will face Florida May 18 at 6 p.m. CT in the round of 16.
• Ole Miss is one of just four schools to have both its tennis teams make the Sweet Sixteen. It's also the first time since 1999 for both to make it in the same year.
Tim Sandkaulen and Grey Hamilton improved to 8-4 at No. 1 doubles.
Fabian Fallert and Finn Reynolds improved to 5-1 at No. 3 doubles.
Tim Sandkaulen improved to 14-9 in dual matches and 7-3 at No. 2 singles.
Filip Kraljevic won his second straight singles match and finished the weekend 3-1 in singles and doubles.
Finn Reynolds improved to 9-6 overall, 4-4 at No. 6 singles.

#38 Ole Miss 4, #4 Stanford 3

1. #22 Tim Sandkaulen/Grey Hamilton (OM) def. Tom Fawcett/Michael Genender (STAN) 7-5
2. Kumar/Eric Fomba (STAN) def. #62 Zvonimir Babic/Filip Kraljevic (OM) 6-3
3. Fabian Fallert/Finn Reynolds (OM) def. Alex Geller/Timothy Sah (STAN) 7-5
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1. #9 Tom Fawcett (STAN) def. #45 Gustav Hansson (OM) 6-4, 6-2
2. #33 Tim Sandkaulen (OM) def. #83 Alex Geller (STAN) 7-6(4), 6-3
3. #107 Filip Kraljevic (OM) def. #102 Sameer Kumar (STAN) 7-5, 6-3
4. Eric Fomba (STAN) def. Grey Hamilton (OM) 6-1, 7-6(3)
5. David Wilczynski (STAN) def. Fabian Fallert (OM) 6-2, 6-3
6. Finn Reynolds (OM) def. William Genesen (STAN) 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 4, 1, 5, 2, 6

At the Net with Head Coach Toby Hansson...
"What an epic college tennis match! We played a great doubles point, which really changed the dynamics and the momentum of the match. We gained a lot of confidence heading into singles and our guys started believing more and more that we could pull it off. Obviously, we knew it was a tough task as they had not lost at home this year. It was a real team effort."

On Finn's match...
"Proud of Finn for being able to handle himself out there. Extremely impressive performance under a lot of pressure, and he came up with the goods. One of the most memorable college tennis matches I have ever been a part of. We'll remember it for a long time."  

On what this means after everything the team has gone through...
"This is an amazing experience for everybody. The guys kept believing through the tough times, and it paid off in a huge way today. We are extremely excited for what we've accomplished so far, but we're not settling. We'll adjust our goals and try to keep it going. We're starting to peak at the most important time of the year."

Freshman Finn Reynolds...
"This is definitely one of the greatest things that has happen to me in my short career here, one of the happiest moments of my life that I will remember for a long time. I am happy I could get it done for the team and that we get to play another match. We want to keep it going!"

On winning the second set... 
"When I won the second set, it fired me up and got rid of some of the nerves. Honestly, I couldn't feel my legs at the start of the third set, but mentally I felt pretty good. I was pretty relaxed."

Next up...
The Rebels will face Florida at 6 p.m. CT May 18 in the Sweet Sixteen. 

For more information on Ole Miss Men's Tennis, follow the Rebels on Twitter @OleMissMTennis, on Facebook at OleMissMTennis and on Instagram at OleMissMTennis, follow Coach Hansson on Twitter at @TennisToby.






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