ATHENS, Ga. - The Ole Miss men's tennis team went 3-0 on day one of the NCAA Singles Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, with Jonas Lutjen, Nik Scholtz and Marcel Thiemann all winning their matches to advance to the second round.
Lutjen was first off the court, defeating 51st-ranked Greg Andrews of Notre Dame in straight sets. At 5-5 in the first set, Lutjen, ranked No. 45 in the nation, broke Andrews and served out the set 7-5. The two traded breaks early in the second, but at 4-3, Lutjen gained his third break and served it out 6-3 to advance.
The junior will face a familiar opponent in the second round, in Mississippi State's Artem Ilyushin (9-16). Ilyushin defeated Cal's Ben McLachlan in straight sets to advance. Lutjen and Ilyushin have played twice previously during their careers, and split both matches. Ilyushin won the first ever meeting in the 2010 Mississippi Cup, and then Lutjen won later that year in the regular season meeting.
In a battle between the ITA Southern Region Rookie of the Year and the Texas Region Senior of the Year, Scholtz (9-16) needed three sets to beat Texas A&M's Alexis Klegou in the first round. Scholtz, the SEC Freshman of the Year and ranked No. 14 in the nation, won the first set 6-3. The two battled to a second set tiebreak with Scholtz owning a match point, before Klegou, ranked No. 33, won it 12-10 to force a decisive third set. Scholtz served for the match at 5-3, but Klegou broke back before Scholtz broke for the second time in the set to win it 6-4.
Scholtz will play 26th-ranked Jose Hernandez, of North Carolina in the second round. This is the third NCAA appearance for Hernandez, who defeated Ashley Watling of Tulsa in the first round.
Thiemann started off his match to Fresno State sophomore Francis Alcantara 0-2, but won six straight games to take the first set 6-2. The two-time NCAA Quarterfinalist served for the match up 5-4 in the second, but Alcantara broke back. The two ended up in a tiebreaker, which Thiemann dominated 7-2 for the win. Thiemann improved to 7-2 for his career in the NCAA Singles Championship.
Thiemann will face seventh-ranked Dennis Nevolo of Illinois in the second round. Nevolo downed NC State's Jaime Pulgar to reach the second round. Thiemann and Nevolo, both senior All-Americans, have never faced each other before.
"We had a great first day," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "All three had to work hard to get the wins, and they got it done. Marcel has been here before and knows what it takes, but I am especially proud of Nik and Jonas in their first NCAA Singles, to come away victorious. We're looking forward to another good day Thursday in singles as well as doubles."
Lutjen, Scholtz and Thiemann will also begin doubles play later Thursday. Scholtz and Lutjen will face Andre Dome and Matt Fawcett of Cal-Poly in the first round, while Marcel and his brother, Chris Thiemann, will meet Kyle Parker and Mickael Trintignac from the College of Charleston.
The times for all three singles matches as well as the doubles will be announced once all first round singles action is completed.
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