#6 MSU Tops #25 Ole Miss On Senior Day
STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WCBI) – In front of a raucous crowd on Friday, No. 6 Mississippi State men’s tennis posted a dominant 6-1 victory against No. 25 rival Ole Miss on Senior Day.
The Bulldogs (17-3, 9-1 SEC) took doubles and all six first sets against the Rebels (13-10, 4-6) for the second straight meeting, after also doing so in the 2018 SEC Tournament quarterfinals. MSU won its 25th straight home match, 15th in SEC play, while winning its fifth match in the last seven meetings between the teams including the third in a row. All three of MSU’s wins in the streak have come within the last calendar year.
“For us, today’s match was about controlling what we can control, being the best teammates possible, applying what we did in practice all week and just being tough and having fun competing together,” head coach Matt Roberts said. “Our crowd was unbelievable, and it was a lot of fun being able to honor our Fantastic Four before the match and then see everyone play for one another out there today.”
State claimed a tight doubles point despite taking a quick advantage on court 1, where MSU’s 10th-ranked senior tandem of Nuno Borges and Strahinja Rakic took a decisive 6-2 victory over the 25th-ranked Rebel pair of Fabian Fallert and Finn Reynolds.
A few minutes later, Ole Miss tightened things up when No. 89 Filip Kraljevic and Tim Sandkaulen upset State’s 12th-ranked Niclas Braun and Giovanni Oradini, 6-3, on court 2.
On court 3, a back-and-forth battle ensued between the Bulldog pair of Trevor Foshey and Gregor Ramskogler and the Rebels’ Simon Junk and Cotter Wilson, with both sides holding serve effectively throughout the match until the final game. With the Bulldog tandem receiving up 5-4, Foshey clinched the point by firing a blistering forehand winner down the line and gave MSU a 1-0 lead going into singles. State has won the doubles point in 29 of its last 31 matches.
The Bulldogs claimed all six first sets in singles for the second straight meeting with the Rebels and all four MSU seniors claimed straight-set triumphs to lead MSU to the victory.
State moved ahead 2-0 when the second-ranked Borges captured yet another singles victory to remain unbeaten in dual match play in 2019 (18-0) and win his 19th in a row. The two-time reigning SEC Player of the Year posted a quick 6-2, 6-1 victory against the 58th-ranked Sandkaulen on court 1 for his 25th victory in 2018-19.
Borges now holds sole possession of fourth all-time in career victories (172), needing just six to take the top spot. In career singles wins, Borges passed Bulldog great Mihnea Nastase (1987-90) for second all-time with his 109th.
State’s lead was upped to 3-0 when Rakic won his third match in a row, downing the Rebels’ Fallert on court 3 in a 6-1, 6-3 decision. The Serbian senior improved to 5-3 in SEC play in singles this season.
Moments later, State’s Florian Broska moved back into the win column with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over UM’s Wilson on court 6. Broska’s victory halted a six-match skid and clinched the victory for the Maroon and White, with the remaining courts being played out.
On the adjacent court 4, the senior Braun increased MSU’s lead to 5-0 by cruising past Reynolds – 6-2, 6-2 – to improve to 7-3 in conference play.
The senior Foshey then gave MSU its final point of the afternoon, ousting Junk at No. 5 singles to secure his 20th victory of the year. This season marks the second year in a row Foshey has eclipsed the 20-win threshold in singles, after posting a 21-8 ledger a year ago. The senior from St. Cloud, Florida, has won six of his last seven outings, including four straight.
The Rebels would earn their lone point of the day when Kraljevic took a tight 7-5, 3-6, 1-0(5) decision on court 2 over MSU’s 52nd-ranked Oradini.
With the win, the Bulldogs’ senior class now holds 79 wins as a unit, which ties for best in program history by any senior class. Additionally, the win marks Matt Roberts’ 99th win as head coach at MSU.
Next Up For MSU …
The Bulldogs have two matches remaining in the 2019 regular season before opening postseason play at the 2019 SEC Championship, held April 17-21 in Gainesville, Florida. Before the tournament, State travels to College Station to face No. 8 Texas A&M at 6 p.m. Friday, April 12, before rounding out the regular season at 1 p.m. the following Sunday in Baton Rouge against No. 37 LSU.
For more information on the Mississippi State men’s tennis program, follow “HailStateMT” on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
No. 6 Mississippi State 6, No. 25 Ole Miss 1
April 5, 2019
A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre – Starkville, Mississippi
- #10 Nuno Borges/Strahinja Rakic (MSU) def. #25 Fabian Fallert/Finn Reynolds (OM) 6-2
- #89 Filip Kraljevic/Tim Sandkaulen (OM) def. #12 Niclas Braun/Giovanni Oradini (MSU) 6-3
- Trevor Foshey/Gregor Ramskogler (MSU) def. Simon Junk/Cotter Wilson (OM) 6-4
Order of finish: 1,2,3
- #2 Nuno Borges (MSU) def. #58 Tim Sandkaulen (OM) 6-2, 6-1
- Filip Kraljevic (OM) def. #52 Giovanni Oradini (MSU) 5-7, 6-3, 1-0(5)
- Strahinja Rakic (MSU) def. Fabian Fallert (OM) 6-1, 6-3
- Niclas Braun (MSU) def. Finn Reynolds (OM) 6-2, 6-2
- Trevor Foshey (MSU) def. Simon Junk (OM) 6-4, 6-4
- Florian Broska (MSU) def. Cotter Wilson (OM) 6-2, 6-2
Order of finish: 1,3,6,4,5,2