Upsets?

After his 10th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels got past 5th-ranked Tennessee Sunday afternoon 6-1, two days after beating 4th-ranked Georgia 4-3, Billy Chadwick said there was no concern about overconfidence from his players.

"All I have to do is remind them we play at 20th-ranked Alabama on Friday," he said. "They beat us over there two years ago, and they are also 2-0 in SEC play after this weekend."

Life in the SEC is never easy.

But Ole Miss controlled both matches this weekend at home from start to finish. Chadwick said it had been a while since the Rebels had done so well against such highly-ranked league foes.

"And the thing that made it so great were the fans," he said in his opening remarks late on Sunday afternoon, speaking of both the crowd for the Georgia and Tennessee matches. "That's the difference when playing two quality opponents like we were this weekend."

The place was packed, with some estimates of nearly 1,000 in attendance at each match, basically filling the place up and creating a huge homecourt advantage for the team.

But there was more, according to Chadwick. Teams don't beat Top 5 ranked foes back to back without on the court superlatives also.

"The thing that was impressive was that we fought very, very hard at every position in doubles and every position in singles," he said. "We did it Friday. We did it today. That's the reason we were able to come out on top in both."

On both Friday and Sunday, the matches did not come down to the final match. In other words, matches were still going on both days when the deciding match was completed.

That's rare in top-flight SEC tennis competition. On Sunday, after winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead, the Rebels clinched when the overall match stood 4-1.

In doubles play against the Volunteers in windy conditions, Kalle Norberg and Otto Sauer won with a dominating 8-0 victory at No. 3.

The senior duo of Bram ten Berge and Jonas Berg were down 7-5 at No. 1, but the fifth-ranked pair battled back to post a 9-7 win against UT's ninth-ranked duo of J.P. Smith and Davey Sandgren, to clinch the doubles point.

Devin Britton and Tucker Vorster won 8-3 at No. 2 doubles over their UT foes.

"We won 8-0, and we didn't miss a lot (of shots)," Sauer said of his No. 3 doubles match, teamming with Norberg for perfection. "We played well and it's hard to play doubles in the wind."

But he and Norberg made it look easy.

Berg, who along with ten Berge, was formerly ranked No. 1 in the nation in doubles, said it was nice to have a comeback win in this one.

"Me and Bram have been struggling the last few matches," he said. "Even though we won some, we haven't played well at all. To be down and come back and serve it out was huge for our confidence in front of this big crowd, which was amazing."

Ole Miss then won four of the first sets in singles. Otto Sauer beat Tennessee's Matt Brewer 6-3, 6-2 at No. 5 singles to give UM a 2-0 lead overall.

At No. 1 singles, Jonas Berg faced an early deficit against last year's NCAA runner-up and this year's SEC Indoor Singles Champion, J.P. Smith, who is ranked No. 10 in the nation. But the Rebel All-American would win five straight games to take the first set 6-4. He carried that momentum into the second set, winning 6-2 to give the Rebels a 3-0 lead.

After Bram ten Berge fell to Tennessee's Matteo Fago 7-5, 6-2 at No. 4 singles, freshman Rebel Marcel Thiemann rolled past Jeremy Tweedt of UT 6-4, 6-2, and the Rebels had won their second big match of the weekend.

Norberg at No. 2 and Britton at No. 3 completed their matches, with Norberg beating Boris Concik 6-3, 6-3, and Britton getting past Davey Sandgren in three sets 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Sauer, a freshman playing in his first home SEC matches, said he was lifted by the fans and their support.

"It's been amazing. It's really awesome," he said. "It makes it so much easier with the crowd behind you. It's been incredible. They tell you about it, but it's something you have to experience for yourself."

Berg, a senior, said he knows the Rebs still have much work left to do to get where they want to be in league play at the end of the regular season.

"But to beat these two teams is huge this early," he said of getting past two of the other top contenders in the league in their first two matches of the SEC season. "There are definitely a lot of important matches left."


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