Rebels advance in NCAA tennis

The Rebels put away Belmont on Saturday; now they focus on Sunday's match with the winner to advance to the Sweet Sixteen at Stanford.

Let's face it. Ole Miss might have been looking ahead to Sunday on Saturday. The Rebels could hardly admit they weren't after beating Belmont 4-0 in round one of the NCAA Tournament.

The top-seeded Rebels now face either second-seeded Florida State or third-seeded Auburn at 1 p.m. on Sunday for the right to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in Palo Alto, Calif. The Seminoles and Tigers were playing late Saturday afternoon.

"We knew we were going to win," said junior Eric Claesson after he won his singles match 6-2, 6-1 over the Bruins' Alex Gillot. "We still had to come out and play. But we knew we were supposed to win this one, and tomorrow we'll play a really good team."

Nothing like honesty. Don't get the idea that Belmont was a bad team. Individually they had some good players and played some strong points in the match.

But this one wasn't in doubt from the time it was announced a week and a half ago.

"I was pleased with the guys today," said Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick. "We came out and did a good job in doubles, worked hard in singles, got all the first sets, and were able to close them out. We came out of this match a little bit more prepared for another match tomorrow."

Bram ten Berge and Juan Pablo DiCesare won their doubles match 8-2 at No. 2, while Erling Tveit and Claesson won theirs 8-3 at No. 1. The No. 3 match, which had Rebels Robbye Poole and Jakob Klaeson as partners, was suspended with the UM tandem leading 7-1.

"We've been playing well in doubles for a while," said DiCesare of him and doubles partner ten Berge. "Hopefully we can play well again tomorrow and help the team win."

In singles, Klaeson at No. 6 was the first Rebel through as he finished off his Bruin opponent 6-1, 6-0. After that in quick succession came wins for Claesson (6-2, 6-1) at No. 2 and DiCesare (6-0, 6-2) at No. 4.

"Because we closed them out quickly, I believe we saved some for tomorrow's match," Chadwick said. "It's going to be a really great college tennis match Sunday no matter who it is."

OM Spirit Top Stories