OXFORD, MS – Clemson’s Fernando Sala defeated Zach Wilder of Mississippi 6-5, 6-4 at number-six singles in clinching the match and leading #25 Clemson to a 4-2 upset win over #10 Mississippi 4-2 in the ITA Men’s Tennis Kickoff Weekend Tournament at the Gillom Sports Center in Oxford, MS Sunday.
With the victory, Clemson is now 4-1 overall, while Mississippi drops to 0-2 this season. Clemson is ranked 25th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) while Mississippi is ranked 10th.
This was the highest ranked team that Clemson Head Coach Chuck McCuen has defeated during his tenure that began in the 2009 season. It was the highest-ranked team that Clemson has defeated since the Tigers beat 10th-ranked Florida State at Clemson on March 2, 2007. It was the highest-ranked team that Clemson has defeated on the road since the Tigers were victorious over Southern Cal in Los Angeles, 4-3 on March 19, 2005.
Today’s match was part of the ITA Men’s Tennis Kickoff Weekend. Across the country 60 teams started play in this tournament in 15 regions. From this region in Oxford, MS, Michigan and Illinois will play later this afternoon to see who will advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Final 16 in Houston, Texas Feb. 14-17. Clemson and Mississippi both lost yesterday and were playing in the consolation match.
Clemson’s trip to Oxford, MS is only the second time the Tigers have played Mississippi on the road. The last time the Tigers played at Oxford was on April 3, 1941.
After winning the doubles point, the Tigers’ momentum carried into the single competition. Clemson’s Dominique Maden upset #104-ranked William Kallberg of Mississippi 6-2, 6-4 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
At number-one singles, #15 Nik Scholtz of Mississippi defeated Hunter Harrington 6-4, 6-3. In the number-three singles match, Clemson’s Alejandro Augusto upset #108-ranked Stefan Lindmark of Mississipi 6-5, 6-1 to give Clemson and 3-1 advantage.
Mississippi won at number-four singles to narrow Clemson’s lead to 3-2 when Johan Backstrom defeated Austin Ansari, 6-0, 6-4.
The Tigers clinched the match when Sala claimed his match over Wilder at number six singles 6-5, 6-4 giving Clemson the 4-2 victory.
Clemson Head Coach Chuck McCuen called it a team effort.
“It was a great team win,” said McCuen. “We competed hard today, and I think our loss yesterday really had us focused today. We had the sharpest focus today than any Clemson team that I have seen in a long time. We competed hard and we responded well from our loss yesterday.
“This was a great win for us,” said McCuen. “Our young guys are competitors and they are a talented group. I am very happy for our players and for our fans. This was a great team win.”
#25 Clemson 4, Ole Miss 2
Singles1. #15 Nik Scholtz (MS) d. Hunter Harrington (CU) 6-4, 6-32. Dominique Maden (CU) d. #104 William Kallberg (MS) 6-2, 6-43. Alejandro Augusto (CU) d. #108 Stefan Lindmark (MS) 6-5, 6-14. Johan Backstrom (MS) d. Austin Ansari (CU) 6-0, 6-45. Luke Johnson (CU) and Vinod Gowda (MS) DNF6. Fernando Sala (CU) d. Zach Wilder (MS) 6-5, 6-4
Doubles1. Harrington/Maden (CU) and Scholtz/Backstrom (MS) DNF2. Augusto/Robert Dudley (CU) d. Kallberg/Lindmark (MS) 6-33. Johnson/Ansari (CU) d. Joe Rogers/Wilder (MS) 6-1
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