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Ole Miss men’s tennis continues torrid start versus ranked teams

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Down go the Pokes!

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Fresh off of a split against top-20 Big Ten opponents, the Rebels welcomed another top 20 team to the Galtney Indoor Tennis Center, this time the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Ole Miss had their highest national ranking since 2018 when they came in at No. 22 in the ITA polls last week. And, with another ranked opponent visiting Oxford, that ranking was put to the test ahead of a 4-2 victory on Friday night.

Played before the singles, many matches come down to the all-important doubles point. Win it, and a split of the six singles courts is enough for a victory. Drop it and it’s an uphill battle. When teams are as evenly matched as these two, the match can nearly be over before it begins.

Fortunately, the doubs teams have been lights out so far this season, winning against Illinois last week and taking courts one and three to take a quick 1-0 lead on the Cowboys.

Nikola Slavic and Simon Junk piled on for the Rebels, winning quickly on courts four and six to give the good guys a 3-0 lead. That’s when the doubles cushion came in handy. OSU won on both courts three and one. This closed the gap to 3-2 before Jan Soren Hain won in a close third set to clinch the victory.

It sure helped to have that doubles point in the Rebels’ back pocket. The only match remaining, Lukas Engelhardt on court five, saw Oklahoma State up a break in the deciding third set when they were called off the court.

Ole Miss has a little time off before heading to the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic on February 21st. There they are guaranteed three matches in a bracket format alongside Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Fresno State, Middle Tennessee, Princeton, and Texas Tech.