Berg, Rebs ready for Oxford Regional

Jonas Berg has been playing the best tennis of his college career this spring. It climaxed with a sensational run to MVP honors at the SEC Tournament at Arkansas in late April.

Berg, the second-year Ole Miss junior from Sweden who played his freshman season at Pepperdine, is one of the reasons Ole Miss has a chance to win the national championship this season.

It all starts again Saturday when the Rebels, seeded fifth nationally, host Marist in match one of the Oxford Regional.

"You rely on players like Jonas, because he does win all the time," said Ole Miss Coach Billy Chadwick. "At the SEC Tournament he was absolutely the best player at his position in singles and doubles period. If we're going to make a run, Jonas will have to continue his winning ways, and we'll have to have some other players follow suit. He's playing as well as anybody in the country."

Berg has been playing No. 4 singles for Ole Miss this season.

"I've been working very hard on my game, and it's finally coming together," sad Berg, who lost only nine games in six sets at the SEC tourney, winning each match handily over his competitors from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida. "Obviously I have a lot of confidence now."

Chadwick, whose Rebels have won nine matches in a row since losing to Florida in Oxford on March 21, said Berg continues to improve.

"He's always been a very solid player, and he's starting to get more aggressive," Chadwick said of Berg, who has 12 wins in a row and hasn't lost since late February for a 26-5 record in singles this season. "He plays a great all-around game. He's at the top of his game and he's not missing. Whoever has to play him, it's just a tough, tough assignment. And he's a great team player who takes care of his business."

At No. 1 doubles, the duo of senior Erling Tveit and Berg has been strong for the Rebels this season. At the SEC tourney, they were at the top of their game. They are currently ranked as the nation's No. 3 doubles team.

"They are a great pair," Chadwick said. "Erling is a great shotmaker. Jonas really sets the point up. His serve is much improved and has helped this team at No. 1 doubles."

Tveit says it's been a good year for the Rebs' No. 1 doubles team.

"We had never played (doubles) together. But we won our first tournament last fall, and we've been playing well since then," said Tveit, who along with Berg is 25-7 in doubles matches this year. "It's just a good fit. I like to play with people who make a lot of returns so I can step up and rip it. We just seem to play well together."

Ole Miss, the top seed in the Oxford Regional, plays fourth-seed Marist at 11 a.m. Saturday, while two-seed Vanderbilt and three-seed Indiana meet at 2 p.m. The championship match is set for 12 noon on Sunday.


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