Ole Miss men’s tennis defeats LSU 4-1, improves to 9-3 on the season

Posted on Mar 4 2018 - 5:49pm by Flint Christian

Zvonimir Babic takes a back hand shot in his singles match against LSU. The Rebels beat the Tigers 4-1 on Sunday. Photo by Billy Schuerman

The Ole Miss tennis team defeated rival LSU 4-1 Sunday afternoon at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center to notch its first win in conference play and improve its record to 9-3 on the season.

The Rebels made quick work of the Tigers behind three singles wins from the three bottom courts. Grey Hamilton won 6-1, 6-4 on Court 4, while Filip Kraljevic won 6-2, 6-2 on Court 6 to add to his doubles win from earlier in the day. Fabian Fallert finished the match with a 6-1, 6-2 victory on Court 5.

“It was good to get a quick win with no drama, to just take care of business, so it feels good, for sure,” Hamilton said. “It’s good to get it done there, (on courts) four, five, six.”

While the bottom three courts rolled, the top courts faced a tougher time. When Fallert won the final match, Gustav Hansson led on Court 1 6-3, 2-3 in the second set while he battled blisters on his foot throughout the match. Tim Sandkaulen stopped his match on Court 2 in the second set locked in a 4-6, 4-4 battle, and Zvonimir Babic held the lone Ole Miss loss on the afternoon as he fell 6-2, 6-1 on Court 3.

Hansson and Finn Reynolds clinched the doubles point for the Rebels with a 6-3 win on the third doubles court after Babic and Kraljevic began the match with a dominant win 6-1 on the second doubles court. Babic nailed clutch shots throughout the match as he hit a chip lob winner on match point only two games after sending an emphatic overhead into the stands to capture their second break and essentially put the match out of reach. Fallert and Sandkaulen paused play at 4-4 on serve on the first doubles court.

Fabian Fallert hits the ball during his singles match against Texas A&M on Friday. The Rebels lost 0-7. Photo by Tucker Robbins

“We had good energy in doubles, and getting that doubles point was big,” head coach Toby Hansson said. “It was really good to see us staying focused throughout this whole match and finishing some of these courts off quickly.”

The Rebels entered the match ranked 30th in the latest Oracle/ITA Collegiate tennis rankings, coming off a 7-0 loss to No. 7 Texas A&M. The team adjusted well to a new set of playing conditions, as Sunday was the first time this season the Rebels played outdoors rather than in the brand-new Ole Miss Indoor Tennis Center.

“I think we did a pretty good job adjusting today and just staying tough mentally, and we didn’t get distracted by all the factors around, like the wind and sun,” Fallert said.

Ole Miss will travel to Nashville to face 34th-ranked Vanderbilt at 4 p.m. Friday as it looks to spark a winning streak in SEC play before returning home March 16 to face Georgia.

“Every match in this league is going to be close matches, and we have to be consistent,” Hansson said, looking ahead to the team’s upcoming in-conference challenges.