PRETORIA, South Africa - His dad is a celebrity in South Africa after a decorated career in Rugby, but on Saturday in his native country, Ole Miss men's tennis junior Nik Scholtz became the talk of the country, when he won a huge five-setter against world No. 276 Benjamin Balleret in the Davis Cup tie against Monaco at the Irene Country Club. His first Davis Cup victory was a thriller, 7-5, 7-6(3), 3-6, 3-6, 6-3.
The match began on Friday afternoon after rain delayed the start of the day's festivities. With his country already down 0-1 after dropping the first match, Scholtz took to the courts and promptly won the first set 7-5 to rousing applause from the home crowd. Early into the second set down a break, play was suspended due to darkness.
Scholtz and Balleret resumed their match Saturday morning, and the two-time collegiate All-American broke back and ended up winning the second set 7-6(3). With over 10 years of Davis Cup experience, Balleret served well in the third set to extend the match and then won the fourth by the same score of 6-3. At 3-2 in the final set, Scholtz broke to go up 4-2 and held the rest of the way for 6-3 and arguably the biggest win in his tennis career.
Following a victory high-five with captain, John-Laffnie De Jager, Scholtz raced across the courts to embrace his family and shared an emotional moment with his father, Calla.
"That was an emotional win," said Scholtz after the victory. "My parents have been such a big part of my success, and I give credit to them for the love and support they unconditionally give me at all times."
Even his opponent, while understandably disappointed, had good things to say about Scholtz and his future in the game.
"Nik has a great future, he is a talented player with a big serve which is a major weapon. I think if Nik can work on his baseline game and move more to the net after his big serve he could be a better player."
Following Scholtz' match, South Africa's doubles pair of Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse gave the homestanding team a 2-1 lead with a five-set win in the doubles.
Scholtz will face Romain Arnedo, who is ranked No. 528, Sunday in the final match of the tie.
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