NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Ole Miss men’s tennis team wrapped up play at the opening round of the Commodore Invitational on Friday, as junior John Hallquist Lithén grabbed the team’s first singles win of the season over a ranked opponent.
Lithén opened his season on a high note by earning a ranked win over Vanderbilt’s Joubert Klopper, the No. 59 ranked singles player in the country according to the ITA. Lithén’s strong 6-4, 6-2 win over his ranked foe sees him through to the Flight A Quarterfinals in singles play on Saturday.
The Rebels finished the day 1-3 in singles, as well as 0-2 in doubles to open their weekend in Nashville. Both of the team’s doubles matches, as well as two singles matches, featured matchups against ranked competition.
“It’s good to be back on the court competing,” head coach Toby Hanson said. “Overall there are some positives we can keep building on. We’re all looking forward to more good matches tomorrow.”
Senior Lukas Engelhardt narrowly missed out on tallying the Rebels’ second ranked singles win of the day on Friday, taking his match against No. 92 Mark Mandlik of Oklahoma to three sets and a third set tiebreak before falling 6-4, 4-6, 7-6.
Freshmen Gordon Whitwell and sophomore Walker Stearns both came up short in their respective singles matches to open their fall seasons, with Whitwell falling to South Carolina’s Carter Morgan (7-5, 7-5) and Stearns dropping his match against South Carolina’s Lucas da Silva (6-1, 6- 1).
In doubles play to open the tournament the Rebels saw themselves competing in a pair of ranked matches, but were not able to earn the team’s first doubles win of the fall. The Rebel pairing of Engelhardt and Lithén would ultimately fall to Auburn’s No. 35 ranked Finn Murgett and unranked Raul Dobai (8-5). Steans and Whitwell would also fall 8-4 in their ranked matchup against No. 41 Siem Woldeab and unranked Eshan Talluri of Texas.
The Rebels will return to action Saturday morning with yet another round of doubles play, followed by two rounds of singles action in Nashville. Doubles will begin at 9 am CT with singles to follow immediately after.
For more information on Ole Miss Men’s Tennis, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissMTennison Facebook at OleMissMTennis and on Instagram at OleMissMTennisfollow Coach Hansson on Twitter at @TennisToby.
Dubai/No. 35 Murgett (Auburn) def. Lithén/No. 56 Engelhardt (Ole Miss) 8-5
Talluri/No. 41 Woldeab (Texas) def. Stearns/Whitwell (Ole Miss) 8-4
John Hallquist Lithén (Ole Miss) def. No. 59 Klopper (Vanderbilt) 6-4, 6-2
No. 92 Mandlik (Oklahoma) def. Lukas Engelhardt (Ole Miss) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6
Da Silva (South Carolina) def. Walker Stearns (Ole Miss) 6-1, 6-1
Morgan (South Carolina) def. Gordon Whitwell (Ole Miss) 7-5, 7-5
Lithén/ No. 56 Engelhardt (Ole Miss) against Plans Gonzalez/Azuma (Clemson) in Blue Draw
Stearns/Whitwell (Ole Miss) against Shokry/No. 17 McDaniel (Georgia Tech) in Green Draw
John Hallquist Lithén against William Grant (Florida) in Flight A
Lukas Engelhardt against No. 89 Jan Galka (Auburn) in Flight B
Walker Stearns against Mitchell Deames (Vanderbilt) in Flight C
Gordon Whitwell against Eshan Talluri (Texas) in Flight C