NEW YORK – Columbia hosts Ole Miss on Sunday at noon from the Dick Savitt Tennis Center in a rematch of a 4-1 Lion win during the first round of the ITA Kick-Off. The match can be seen live on the Ivy League Network.
The Lions (4-0) came in at No. 12 in the latest USTA College Tennis Top-25, and tied with Mississippi State at No. 14 in the most recent ITA College Tennis Rankings. The Rebels (7-1) were the first team receiving votes in the latest ITA poll after topping No. 9 Baylor last week, 4-3.
Jackie Tang will be back in the lineup for the home team on Sunday, a week after taking part in the first round of the Davis Cup. The sophomore helped his native Hong Kong to a 4-0 victory over Iran, beating Shahin Khaledan 7-6, 6-4. With the win, Tang improved to 2-2 all-time in Davis Cup matches for Hong Kong, having gone 1-2 during the 2016 Davis Cup.
Having the No. 2 singles player and one member of the top doubles pair back in the lineup will provide a boost to Columbia, as the Lions were tested by a tough Vanderbilt team during a 4-3 victory last weekend. Tang currently checks in at No. 49 in the ITA singles rankings, falling from No. 38 after not playing a collegiate match last weekend. Alongside Victor Pham, the pair own the No. 7 ranking in doubles play, with a 4-2 record this spring. After a successful stretch in which he’s won his last five outings, Pham is up four spots to No. 15 in the latest ITA singles rankings himself.
A mere two weeks ago during the first round of the ITA Kick-Off, the Lions and Rebels met in Charlottesville, Virginia, serving up a battle in the Boar’s Head Sports Complex.
Ole Miss took the lead thanks to a win in doubles, topping the two ranked Columbia doubles teams in the process. Despite the 1-0 Rebel edge, the Lions would never falter, claiming four singles victories which all came in straight sets. Pham finished it off, scoring the clincher in 6-4, 6-0 fashion against No. 32 Gustav Hansson.
ON OLE MISS
Pham’s victory over Hansson has proven to be ever-more impressive, considering the streak the Ole Miss senior has gone on since. Playing in the top singles slot, Hansson defeated Virginia’s top player, Gianni Ross, in straight sets after the match with Columbia, before his most recent win over then-ranked No. 11 Johannes Schretter from Baylor. With a 5-1 mark this spring, the former All-American surged to No. 20 in the latest ITA singles poll.
Aided by Hansson’s victory against Schretter, Ole Miss upset ITA National Championship bound and No. 9 ranked Baylor 4-3, improving to 7-1 on the season. The Rebels also defeated Cornell (4-2) last weekend, and will square off with Princeton on Friday, prior to the match at Columbia.
Sunday’s home team has impressed all spring, with a variety of players stepping up in big moments to lead to the undefeated 4-0 record.
At the No. 6 singles spot, Timothy Wang has been on a roll, going 5-2 overall with one of those losses coming via retiring after the match had been clinched against Vanderbilt.
Adam Ambrozy already owns one singles and doubles win over Ole Miss, defeating Fabian Fallert in singles play back on Jan. 27, while besting the Hamilton/Reynolds pair from the Rebels in the same match.
After coming back from a fall injury, Alex Keyser has impressed out of the No. 4/5 singles spot, going 3-1 overall, including a 7-5, 6-1 match clincher against Vanderbilt’s Max Freeman last weekend.
The win over Vandy also saw a singles triumph from Austen Huang, who bested Billy Rowe 6-3, 6-1 to improve to 4-1 this spring.