The Ole Miss men’s and women’s tennis teams had busy schedules this past weekend, with the men splitting their weekend matches 1-1 against Auburn and Alabama, and the women beating in-state rivals Mississippi State, 4-1.
Both teams look to finish the last stretch of the regular season strong, as the men will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee to face the Wildcats and Commodores on Friday and Sunday, while the women will stay at home to face the same teams on Thursday and Saturday.
The men will look to bounce back after splitting their tour of Alabama. Last week, the No. 9 ranked Rebels started out the weekend by defeating Auburn 4-3. While the team split the singles matches 3-3, the team rose above in its doubles matches (2-3) to clinch the overall win.
Senior Brady Draheim and junior Simon Junk continued to cruise in their duo groove as they defeated Auburn’s top pair, 6-3. The pair has won four of their last five doubles matches together and will look to carry their success into the weekend.
In singles, freshman John Hallquist Lithén, who was crowned SEC Freshman of the Week last week, didn’t let up as he won his singles match. Sophomore Nikola Slavic claimed his first win as the No. 2 seed for the Rebels to bring the team over the top.
However, the victory over Auburn was short-lived, as the Rebels faced the Alabama Crimson Tide two days later and lost 3-4 overall.
The team continued its stride in winning doubles, but could not bring the victory home, as Alabama won four out of the six singles. Slavic and senior Finn Reynolds both won their individual matches, bringing the singles matches all tied up at 3-3, but junior Jan Soren Hain ultimately fell short in his singles match to lend the Tide the overall win.
This weekend on the road, the Rebels will hope to tune their singles play, as they need a little more consistency in order to prepare for a deep postseason run, which is right on the horizon and starts on April 19.
Meanwhile, the women had a win of their own against the Mississippi State Bulldogs over the weekend. Unlike the men, the women found strength in their singles rather than their doubles.
The No. 1 senior doubles pair Alexa Bortles and Anna Vrebenska dominated their game, winning 6-2, but the other two doubles teams were not enough to overtake the Bulldogs. However, through a trio of very close singles games where all three were decided in deuce after being tied 6-6, the sixth-seeded singles player freshman Reka Zadori was the backbone for the team whose 6-1 win brought the Rebels above Mississippi State for the overall match win.
The women will stay at home to round off the regular season at the end of this week, facing Vanderbilt on Thursday, April 8 and Kentucky on Saturday, April 10. The men will hit the road to Lexington and face off against the Wildcats on Friday, April 9, and will stop in Nashville on the way home to compete against the Commodores on Sunday, April 11.