Oct. 24, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. - Junior Andreas Mies earned a huge victory for the Auburn men's tennis program on Monday afternoon as he claimed the singles championship at the USTA/ITA South Regional, which was played at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
The 70th-ranked Mies, a junior from Niederkassel, Germany, took down 72nd-ranked Jonas Lutjen of Ole Miss in a three-set battle, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, to earn Auburn's second ITA Regional singles title in three seasons; Tim Puetz claimed the singles championship in 2009.
"Andy played a strong tournament," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "I think he learned some things about himself this week mentally. He learned how to compete better, and he's still got room for improvement in some areas. But he's on the right track, and this is a good step forward for sure."
Mies played three consecutive three-set matches over the last three days of the tournament, but was able to outlast Lutjen in another tightly contested battle. Although Mies may have had a slight advantage in that Lutjen had played in the doubles final earlier Monday morning - Lutjen and partner Johan Backstrom claimed the main draw doubles title with an 8-5 win over LSU's Olivier Borsos and Chris Simpson - he said that wasn't a factor.
"I'm very happy about the way I adapted to the courts that just got resurfaced last week," Mies said, "and I'm pleased with the way I played overall in this tournament, especially the last three matches where I had tough opponents. I got through some tough moments, and I didn't have much energy left in the third set today, to be honest. But I just tried to stay committed and positive.
"I also want to say thanks to my coaches and all my teammates for coming out and supporting me today. It means a lot."
After winning the first set 6-4 by breaking Lutjen's serve for the second time in the clinching game, Mies dropped set two as the two players broke each other's serves in three consecutive games - the third giving Lutjen a 5-4 lead. Lutjen would then hold serve to tie the match at one set apiece.
"I just tried to forget the first and second sets," Mies said. "Coach told me on the bench that it's the last set of the tournament and to just stay positive. Even if it takes another hour or two hours, just try to win the set. And that's what I did; tried to focus on the start of the third set and not fall behind."
Facing two break points down 15-40 in the first game of the third set, Mies found the inner strength to rally for four straight points and hold serve. With momentum on his side, Mies broke Lutjen's serve to go up 2-0, then broke again two games later to take a 4-0 lead. From there, the players would hold serve the rest of the way, and Mies would take a 6-1 victory to claim the tournament title.
Shore said, however, that the key moment of the tournament for Mies came in Sunday's semifinal match against Mississippi State's 46th-ranked Malte Stropp.
"I really think his match in the semis when he held at 3-all was huge," Shore said. "Once you go through that and you do it, it's got to give you some confidence that you can recall that and know you've got that inside of you. These guys in the finals have played a lot of tennis, and he had a little bit more left in the tank than the other guy in the third. He stepped up this week."
With the victory, Mies earned a berth into the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships, which take place Nov. 3-6 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
The Tigers will continue their fall schedule next weekend as they travel to Las Vegas for the Larry Easley Memorial Classic. The tournament runs Friday through Sunday at UNLV.
Auburn Men's Tennis
USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championship
October 24, 2011 - Yarbrough Tennis Center
Singles Main Draw - Championship
#70 Andreas Mies (AU) def. #72 Jonas Lutjen (Ole Miss), 6-4, 4-6, 6-1