TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – For the fourth year in a row, Ole Miss will be represented at the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, as William Kallberg and Stefan Lindmark won the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Doubles Championship Monday morning at the Alabama Tennis Stadium to earn their ticket to New York.
The football team plays LSU later this week in Oxford, but Kallberg and Lindmark, seeded No. 4, got the party started a little early, defeating the LSU tandem of Chris Simpson and Boris Arias, seeded No. 3, 8-5 in the final, to become the third Rebel team in four years to win the regional title.
Kallberg and Lindmark got out to a 4-2 lead in the match, before LSU broke to get within 3-4. However, the Rebel duo broke back and held for a 6-3 lead, which they would not relinquish on their way to the 8-5 win.
“We are both very excited about winning and qualifying for New York,” said Kallberg and Lindmark after the match. "It will be a great opportunity and experience for us. This was our second tournament together this fall and we have improved in each match. This championship was a testament to hard work. If you work hard good things will happen. Nothing is handed to you.”
With their win, Kallberg and Lindmark improved to 6-1 together this year.
“Both guys played really well, they played with a lot of energy,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. It’s great to see them start to play so much better in doubles on an individual basis. Willie has really improved his play at the net, and Stefan is a machine returning the ball. Both also did a great job of stepping it up on their serves. It was fun to watch.”
It marks the second time in two years that the Rebels have beaten LSU in the doubles final. In 2011, current senior Johan Backstrom teamed up with former two-time All-American Jonas Lutjen to defeat Simpson and then partner Olivier Borsos by the same score.
The Rebels were hoping for a repeat of 2010, when they swept the regional titles, but that didn’t happen, as junior Nik Scholtz lost in his bid to repeat as regional champion, to Mississippi State’s Malte Stropp.
Scholtz, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, jumped out to a big lead in the first set. At 4-1, he had numerous chances to gain another break, but Stropp, the No. 3 seed in the draw, fought off at least 12 break points according to Chadwick. Serving for the first set at 5-4, Scholtz was broken by Stropp. The two eventually went to a tiebreaker, which Stropp won 7-4. With momentum on his side, Stropp got off to a fast start in the second set on his way to winning it 6-2.
“Nik was playing really well, completely controlling everything. He had a bunch of break points to get a second break to go up 5-1,” Chadwick said. “He had a set point at 5-4 serving for it. After that Stropp played really well and it was an uphill battle for Nik. Hopefully Nik learned a lot from this match.”
The USTA/ITA National Indoor will take place Nov. 7-10 at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
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