Tide Tennis Upsets Ole Miss In SEC

OXFORD, Miss. – Alabama's Jarryd Botha delivered one of the most clutch performances of his career, grinding out a three-setter that spanned nearly five hours, with weather interruptions, to clinch the 4-3 victory over No. 6 Mississippi on Thursday in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Championship.

With the win, the Crimson Tide ups its season standings to 14-12, while the loss puts the Rebels at 15-8 overall.

Next up, Alabama will take on 12th-ranked Texas A&M, the tournament's No. 4 seed, on Friday at 3 p.m. CDT.

Alabama was edged out in doubles in one of its closest points of the season to give Mississippi the 1-0 lead. On court one, the Rebels' fourth-ranked duo of Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen picked up an early break to help them to an 8-6 win over the Tide's Botha and David Vieyra, ranked 13th. The matchups on courts two and three were equally tight with both eventually reaching a tiebreaker. Court two would end up deciding the point, going in favor of Mississippi's 73rd-ranked team of Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark, 9-8(4). The tiebreaker started out on serve, however the Rebels would win three-straight points to go up 5-3, distancing themselves just enough away from 34th-ranked Becker O'Shaughnessey and Daniil Proskura to soon steal the match.

With inclement weather moving into the area, only two matches were able to finish outdoors, with Alabama and Mississippi taking one apiece. Stuart Kenyon got the Tide on the board after claiming the first victory in singles, winning 6-4, 6-2 on court five over Backstrom. The Rebels would jump back in front with a win from Adrian Skogeng on court six versus Harris Barnard, 6-3, 6-1. From that point, action moved indoors, where the matchups on courts two, three, and four would be played first on the three available courts. Mississippi extended its lead over Alabama, 3-1, with the conclusion of the match on court four as William Kallberg held on to take the 6-2, 7-5 win against Philippe Tsangarides.

The remaining three matches all went in the Tide's favor, first for Proskura on court two, who posted a huge victory over the 16th-ranked player in the nation in Lutjen, 6-2, 7-5. Next up was No. 107 O'Shaughnessey on court three, who outlasted Lindmark, 6-3, 6-7(7), 7-5, to even the match at 3-3, which put all eyes on the matchup on court one. Botha, ranked 73rd, and 15th-ranked Scholtz had a battle from start to finish, splitting the first two sets, with Botha taking the first, 7-6(5), and Scholtz the second, 6-4. The two traded games in the third until the Tide senior captain put it into overdrive and took the final two games to win not only his match, but the team victory as well.

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