ATHENS, Ga. – Ole Miss men’s tennis freshman Nik Scholtz avoided elimination again Friday, winning a hard-fought battle against Mississippi State’s Louis Cant 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals. His teammates, twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann, reached the Elite Eight in doubles with a three-set win of their own 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-4 win against Georgia Tech’s Kevin King and Juan Spir.
Scholtz (21-8) makes it four straight years for the Rebels to have a player reach at least the quarterfinals in singles, while the twins become the third Rebel tandem in five years to reach the quarterfinals.
“This was a great day for the Rebels. We are very proud of all three players. We won two very hard fought matches, and the guys showed a lot of heart. It speaks to the success of our program to have four straight years with a quarterfinalist in singles. We’re looking forward to another great day tomorrow.”
Scholtz, the SEC Freshman of the Year, faced match points in his second round match on Thursday and fell behind early again Friday to Cant. At 4-4 in the first set, Cant broke Scholtz and served it out 6-4.
In the second set, Cant broke and led 5-3. He served for the match at 5-4, but Scholtz broke at love. Scholtz had triple game point to go up 6-5, but Cant forced it all the way back to deuce. Unfortunately, Scholtz had three straight double faults to give Cant another opportunity to serve for the match at 6-5. Cant was two points away from winning, and Scholtz won four straight points to force a tiebreaker. Scholtz dominated the tiebreaker 7-3 to send it to a third set.
At 1-1 in the third, Scholtz netted a break, but gave it right back for 2-2. The two traded breaks again for 3-3. At 4-4, Scholtz broke for the third time and served it out 6-4 to clinch the berth in the quarterfinals.
Scholtz will face the 2010 NCAA Champion, Bradley Klahn of Stanford in the quarterfinals Saturday.
The Thiemann’s also had to work hard to win their match against one of the nation’s top teams in GT’s King and Spir, ranked No. 3 and seeded No. 3.
The twins won the first set in a tiebreaker, after losing the early break they secured. The Jackets and Rebels were knotted, 6-6, at the changeover in the tiebreaker, but Ole Miss came back out and won the first two points to grab the set.
The second set remained on serve until the sixth game, when the Yellow Jackets broke and went ahead 4-2. After both teams held, Tech broke Ole Miss again to win the set, 6-3, and tie the match.
Tech won the first game of the final set on King’s serve, but Ole Miss broke on Spir’s serve to go up 2-1, then held on the rest of the way. The Rebels rebuffed a couple of break attempts by the Yellow Jackets to prevail, including one in the final game when Tech went ahead 40-30 in a bid to tie the set and get back on serve.
The Thiemann’s will face 63rd-ranked Baroz/Huegas (VCU) in the quarterfinals Saturday.
At the beginning of the year, the Thiemann’s talked of wanting to advance in the doubles after two first round exits in two prior appearances. In their third NCAA appearance as a team, the Thiemann’s have achieved that and more. By advancing to the third round of doubles, they earn All-America status, joining Scholtz in that achievement. Marcel becomes the fourth player to earn All-America honors three times, while Chris grabs the honor for the first time.
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