April 24, 2009
AUBURN - The No. 2 Ole Miss men's tennis team picked up its first victory of the 2009 Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Tournament Friday afternoon, defeating 30th-ranked LSU, 4-2, in the tournament quarterfinals.
The Rebels, the SEC regular-season champion and tournament top seed, will take on fourth-seeded Florida in the SEC Tournament semifinals at
11 a.m., Saturday.
The 2009 SEC Men's Tennis Tournament is a four-day tournament hosted by Auburn University at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. One of the toughest tennis leagues in the country, the SEC features seven teams currently ranked in the top-25 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
In doubles play, the first-ranked team of Bram ten Berge and Jonas Berg were defeated by LSU's third-ranked team of Michael Venus and Neal Skupski. But the Rebels rallied to come back in the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles matches starting with Devin Britton and Tucker Vorster defeating LSU's James Cluskey and Jonathan Tragardh, 9-7. Kalle Norberg and Otto Sauer defeated Sebastian Carlsson and Julien Gauthier 8-6 to pick up the doubles point for Ole Miss.
"LSU played great, and we knew that they would," said Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick. "They were coming off that win over South Carolina and they were very impressive, especially coming out of the gate in doubles. We did a good job of finding a way to get that doubles point. I think that proved to be the difference in the match."
In singles play, Ole Miss got off to an early lead as No. 37 Devin Britton defeated James Cluskey, 6-2, 6-3, and then 39th-ranked Kalle Norberg defeated Neal Skupski 6-3, 6-2.
The Tigers made a comeback in Nos. 3 and 4 singles, but the Rebels proved to be too much for LSU, as Ole Miss's Marcel Thiemann defeated Julien Gauthier, 7-5, 6-4 to seal the win.
"It was very difficult," said Thiemann. "We played a lot of long rallies. I was losing in the first set, but I came back. I just fought through the whole match and that's why I won."
LSU head coach Jeff Brown felt the doubles point made the difference in the match, but was proud of his team's effort.
"We got a good start in doubles, but they hung around," said LSU head coach Jeff Brown. "Giving up that point to them ended up making a difference. We had some great performances and I'm proud of what we did. We were really close and could take the victory, but it wasn't there."
With the win, Ole Miss improves to 22-2 on the season and LSU drops to 10-11.