CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – With winds whipping at the Atkins Tennis Center here Wednesday, conditions were tough for all competitors on the first day of the NCAA Singles Championship, but Ole Miss men’s tennis senior Jonas Lutjen handled it fine to advance to the second round with a straight set win over North Carolina sophomore Esben Hess-Olesen.
Lutjen, ranked No. 20 in the nation, won a huge first set tiebreaker after missing an opportunity to serve out the set at 6-5. Trailing 6-4 in the breaker, the ITA Southern Region Senior of the Year won three of the next four points to tie it at seven. He won the final two points to win it 7-6(7) and take the early advantage. One break is all he needed in the second set to win it 6-3 and move on to the second round for the second year in a row.
“Jonas played well,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “The wind was worse at the start of the day, but he held his own. It was huge for him to get that first set tiebreaker. The first round is always tricky to get through. Tomorrow he gets an opportunity to face a seeded player and hopefully keep it going.”
Lutjen improved to 31-10 overall on the year and will meet 9-16 seed Kyle McMorrow of Washington in the second round Thursday at 9:30 a.m. McMorrow, ranked 17th nationally, didn’t drop a game in his first round match.
Unfortunately, Lutjen’s teammate and doubles partner, sophomore Nik Scholtz, didn’t fare as well, going out in the first round after reaching the Elite Eight last year as a freshman. Scholtz, seeded 9-16, struggled early against Tulsa’s Clifford Marsland losing the first set 6-1. He got down an early break in the second, and finally got going in the middle of the set, but Marsland served it out 6-3 to knock off the nation’s 14th-ranked player. Scholtz ends the year at 20-9 in singles.
“It was a combination of Nik not playing well, and the other guy playing well,” Chadwick said. “The guy didn’t make too many mistakes and didn’t allow Nik to get into the match. By the time Nik was able to get going a little in the middle of the second set, it was hard to hold him off. It’s been a tough last couple of months for Nik with the injury and not being at the top of his game like we are used to seeing, but he’ll bounce back.”
Scholtz will cheer on Lutjen in the singles tomorrow and then the two will team up for their first round of doubles. The third-seeded duo will face Indiana's Isade Juneau and Sam Monette. The times for the first round of doubles have not been set yet. Check @OleMissTennis on Twitter for updates. All matches during the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships feature live scoring at video, which can be accessed by going to OleMissSports.com and clicking on the link in the calendar.
NCAA Singles Championship – Champaign, Ill. First Round Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Esben Hess-Olesen (UNC) 7-6(7), 6-3; Clifford Marsland (TULSA) def. (9-16) Nik Scholtz (OM) 6-1, 6-3.
On the transition as new hitting coach: The transition has been really good. The coaching staff has made it a lot easier on me than what it could be. It's definitely been a whirlwind. On what he knew about Ole... read more
Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Watch: Freeze on CFB Live Watch: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman... 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