KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- This time of year, it's about survive and advance. The Ole Miss men's tennis team did that here Thursday in the second round of the SEC Tournament, downing Auburn 4-1 at the Goodfriend Tennis Center to move on to the quarterfinals.
The Rebels will face the No. 3 seed, Florida, Friday at 8 a.m. CT.
With rain, the match was moved indoors, but that didn't dampen the Rebels at all, as they took control from the beginning and never let up.
In the regular season meeting, Ole Miss won 4-0, but four of the matches went three sets. This time the Rebels would grab the doubles point again, and three singles matches in straight sets, to close out the Tigers.
Tim Sandkaulen and Filip Kraljevic won 6-4 at No. 2 doubles. Fabian Fallert and Grey Hamilton, ranked No. 23, took control early against 19th-ranked Max Hinnisdaels and Conner Huertas at No. 1, and held for 6-4, to clinch the point.
The Rebels maintained momentum in singles, winning five of six first sets. Auburn tied the match with a 6-1, 6-1 win on court six from Brandon Laubser against Robert Mounger.
That would be it for Auburn, as the Rebels closed out straight set wins on courts three, four and five. Fallert dominated his opponent, Huertas, 6-0, 6-0 on court three and then Kraljevic finished off Dante Saleh 6-4, 6-3 at five to make it 3-1.
With senior Ricardo Jorge up a set and tied 4-4 in the second at one, and Sandkaulen starting a third set at two, Hamilton closed out the Tigers with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Edward Nguyen on court five.
Thoughts from head coach Toby Hansson... "We came out ready to play today. We played well on all three courts in doubles and we kept the momentum in singles, winning five out of six first sets. We never gave them a chance to get back in the match after that. I am very pleased with our team's performance today."
Junior Grey Hamilton... "Today was definitely a big one for the team. We played lights out, pretty much across the board. Fabi and I played a very solid doubles match against a top 20 team, and Filip and Tim were able to step up to No. 2 and get the win there. In singles, we all played well from the beginning. I felt in control of my match the entire time, and it was especially easy to stay calm and positive while Fabi was next to me winning so easily."
Up next: The Rebels will face the No. 3 seed, Florida Friday at 8 a.m. CT in the quarterfinals. Florida won the regular season meeting 4-1.