ATHENS, Ga. – Ole Miss men’s tennis senior Jonas Lutjen won a huge three-setter in the quarterfinals of the Southern Intercollegiates Sunday morning against Georgia’s Nathan Pasha, and then somehow had enough left in the tank to defeat Vanderbilt’s Gonzales Austin in straight sets to reach the Monday final at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Lutjen, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, won the first set against Pasha (9-16) 7-6(3) and then led 5-2 in the second before Pasha came back to win the set 7-5. The two battled back and forth in the final set before heading to another tiebreaker, which Lutjen won 7-6(7).
His semifinal opponent also had a three-setter in the quarterfinals, but Lutjen showed no effect from a tough quarterfinal match, as he downed Austin 6-2, 6-1 to advance to his first tournament final of the year. Lutjen has only dropped one set in five matches this weekend.
“Jonas could have made it a lot easier on himself, when he was up a set and 5-2 against Pasha, but he got a little tentative and a little unlucky,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “That was enough for Pasha to get back in it. For Jonas to fight through and get the win was big. He’s playing really well right now. We are looking forward to another great battle tomorrow.”
Lutjen, ranked No. 21 in the preseason national rankings, will face another Bulldog in the final, Hernus Pieters (5-8) Monday at 8 a.m. CT. Pieters won both his matches Sunday in straight sets to set up the final.
In their first meeting last fall, Pieters edged Lutjen 6-4, 6-4 in the qualifying round of the ITA All-American.
In the Division II singles, redshirt freshman Zach Wilder dropped his quarterfinal match to Jaan Kononov of Armstrong Atlantic in three sets. Wilder won the first set 6-2, but Kononov got the second and third sets 6-3 and 6-4, respectively. Wilder finished his first tournament for the Rebels at 3-1.
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