Freshman Devin Britton, playing in his first dual match for the No. 9 nationally ranked Ole Miss men’s tennis team, won at No.1 singles to clinch the victory (7-0) for the Rebels in their season opener at the Gillom Sports Center Thursday. The Rebels will now turn their attention to Kentucky, who they will face Saturday in the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor.
“This was a good showing today,” head coach Billy Chadwick said. “The seniors really displayed great leadership. Kalle played lights out, and the freshmen stepped it up. Devin is impressive and has a lot of firepower.”
Britton gained the upperhand in his match against Troy’s Branko Weber by taking the first set 6-4. Weber raced out to a 5-2 lead in the second set, before Britton, who reached the semis at the SEC Indoor, won five straight games to win it 7-5 in his home debut.
“It was a good match,” said Britton, a native of Jackson. “I had some first match nerves, but I was able to get a break and make it through the first set. I played sloppy in the beginning of the second set but then I got back in it. The nerves went away, and I was able to close it out.
“It’s huge to get a match in before this weekend’s big matches. I should have more confidence Saturday.”
Ole Miss got things started by sweeping the doubles to go up 1-0. Britton teamed with freshman Otto Sauer for an 8-3 win at No. 2 and then Kalle Norberg and freshman Chris Thiemann finished off their opponent 8-4 at No. 3 to clinch the point.
The nation’s No. 1 tandem of Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge were challenged in their match, but broke back and held on to win 9-7.
“They know they have a target on their back by being No. 1 in the nation,” Chadwick said. “It would make somebody’s year to beat them. They started off slow, but regrouped to close out the sweep.”
Norberg made it 2-0 Ole Miss with a dominating 6-1, 6-0 performance against Benjamin Chomette at No. 3 singles. Berg increased it to 3-0 by defeating Aurelien Tave 7-5, 6-2 at No. 2 singles, setting up Britton’s clinching match.
Bram ten Berge won his match at No. 4 6-3, 6-1 to add to the lead, and then freshmen Otto Sauer and Chris Thiemann completed the sweep with straight set wins at five and six.
Saturday’s match against Kentucky begins at 10 a.m., at the Gillom Sports Center. Rice and Wake Forest will meet in the other match at 3 p.m. The winners will face off Sunday at 2 p.m. for the right to advance to the Final 16 in Chicago.
“It was good for the freshmen to get some experience,” Chadwick added. “Saturday is the real deal. Kentucky will be a top 10 team by the end of the year. It’s going to be a great match. We’ll be ready to play.”
#9 OLE MISS 7
1. Berg/ten Berge (OM) def. Silva/Weber (TROY) 9-7
2. Britton/Sauer (OM) def. Chomette/Masson (TROY) 8-3
3. Norberg/C. Thiemann (OM) def. Maucher/Tave (TROY) 8-4
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
1. Devin Britton (OM) def. Branko Weber (TROY) 6-4, 7-5
2. Jonas Berg (OM) def. Aurelien Tave (TROY) 7-5, 6-2
3. Kalle Norberg (OM) def. Benjamin Chomette (TROY) 6-1, 6-0
4. Bram ten Berge (OM) def. Mario Silva (TROY) 6-3, 6-1
5. Chris Thiemann (OM) def. Bastian Maucher (TROY) 6-4, 6-4
6. Otto Sauer (OM) def. Maxime Zamora (TROY) 6-2, 6-0
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1, 4, 6, 5