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How Sweet It Is! Men's Tennis Advances to Second Consecutive Sweet 16 With Win at Ole Miss
Wednesday, 05/13/2015
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Columbia University Team Page

OXFORD, Miss. - From the first doubles serve, everyone at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center could tell this was going to be a hard-fought tennis match.  And it was.

#17 Columbia won the doubles point, and got wins at No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 singles, including two tie-breakers and a third-set win, to defeat the #14 Rebels of Ole Miss, 4-1.

"We knew that Ole Miss is very tough at home. They are very hard to beat here. So after Georgia Tech we thought we needed to win the doubles point," Howard Endelman, Associate Head Coach said.  "They are very strong at the top of the lineup, so we knew if we won the doubles point and put some pressure on them, it would give us a little edge heading into singles.  The guys played so well in doubles and I think it took some air out of the home crowd, which was good for us."

In doubles, Columbia’s Ashok Narayana and Dragos Ignat jumped out to a fast start and defeated Gustav Hansson and William Kallberg, 8-3 at No. 2.  Winston Lin and Mike Vermeer were up 6-5 on Nik Sholtz and Stefan Lindmark at No. 1, but they didn’t get to finish their set, as Max Schnur and Bert Vancura defeated Grey Hamilton and Zvonimir Babic, 8-5, to give the Lions the doubles point.

Singles did not start well for the Lions. Columbia lost four of six first sets, including two in tie-breakers, but the team was undeterred by the slow start. Of the four singles that lost the first sets (No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, No. 6), three won second sets including Ignat (6-4), Vermeer (7-6, 8) and Vancura (6-4).

Lin fell to Scholtz, 6-4, 6-3 to tie up the match at 1-1, but by that time, Shawn Hadavi had won a first-set tie-breaker and was up 5-1 in the second set. Hadavi went on to win 6-2 to give the Lions a 2-1 lead.

With Ignat and Vermeer up 2-1 in the third, Vancura was quietly up 4-1 on court six, while Narayana was in a 6-6 battle at three.

The crowd certainly got quiet when Narayana went up 5-1 in the breaker, but Vancura was 5-1 and in control of his match.

Narayana went on to win 6-2 in the tie-breaker, giving Columbia a 3-1 lead with Vancura about to break serve for the match.  About five minutes later, Vancura closed out at No. 6 to give the Lions the 4-1 win.

“I was on courts 5 and 6, so I couldn’t see the other courts but I could see the main scoreboard, and it seemed like every first set was in a breaker, or 5-5,” Endelman said.  “This match couldn’t have been any closer.  We have to give Ole Miss a lot of credit.  They won four first sets, but our guys, they all hung in there.  Bert’s opponent was playing great.  Bert just stayed around, stayed around and won the second set, and he was just incredible in the third.  It was probably one of the best sets I’ve ever seen him play.  {Shawn} Hadavi played a really good player and Shawn played one of the best tie-breakers I’ve ever seen him play.  They were just so tough.”

Ole Miss was 10-1 at home heading into the match, with wins against #16 Vanderbilt and #15 Florida. Previously, their lone home loss this season was against #2 Baylor on March 10.

“Last year we snuck up on people. No one picked us to beat Vanderbilt. This year, in many ways, was much harder.  No one was surprised by us. But our goal was always to get back to the Sweet 16, and to beat Ole Miss in Oxford to get there, is just incredible,” Endelman concluded.

Columbia advances to its second straight NCAA Men’s Tennis Sweet 16, which will be held in Waco, Texas.  The Lions will face the Virginia Cavaliers at 4 p.m. (Central) on Thursday, May 14.

SINGLES

1. #18 Nik Scholtz (OM) def. #17 Winston Lin (CU) 6-4, 6-3

2. #86 Stefan Lindmark (OM) vs. #108 Dragos Ignat (CU) 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 2-1, unfinished

3. Ashok Narayana (CU) def. Gustav Hansson (OM) 6-3, 7-6 (6-2)

4. William Kallberg (OM) vs. Mike Vermeer (CU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (6-8), 1-2, unfinished

5. Shawn Hadavi (CU) def. Ricardo Jorge (OM) 7-6 (7-2), 6-2

6. Bert Vancura (CU) def. Vinod Gowda (OM) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1

DOUBLES

1. Nik Scholtz/Stefan Lindmark (OM) vs. #46 Winston Lin/Mike Vermeer (CU) 5-6, unfinished

2. #84 Ashok Narayana/Dragos Ignat (CU) def. Gustav Hansson/William Kallberg (OM) 8-3

3. Max Schnur/Bert Vancura (CU) def. Grey Hamilton/Zvonimir Babic (OM) 8-5

Match Notes:

Columbia 16-5; National ranking #17

Ole Miss 18-9; National ranking #14

Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,5,3,6)

Columbia advances to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in Waco, Texas.


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