The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

No. 30 Auburn Propels Past Ole Miss with a Tiebreaker

34 days ago
Photo: Mackenzie Miles

AUBURN, Ala. (April 21, 2022) - Raul Dobai came from behind to force and then win a third-set tiebreaker that edged No. 30 Auburn past No. 31 Ole Miss 4-3 Thursday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The 3-hour-45-minute match was the Tigers' first SEC tournament win since 2015.

"That's really what college tennis is about," Auburn head coach Bobby Reynolds said. "It's tough that somebody has to lose, and I give all the credit to Ole Miss. They came out and fought, and they put us up against the wall early on. Credit to Raul [Dobai] winning the first set, losing the second, but fighting all the way through. It's good to get out of that one with a win."

Auburn got off to a strong start in doubles when Jan Galka and Tyler Stice dispatched Jan Soren Hain and Simon Junk by a 6-3 score on court two. The matches on courts one and three went to tiebreakers, and No. 11 Tad Maclean and Finn Murgett captured the doubles point for Auburn going 7-0 in the tiebreak to win 7-6 over No. 23 Finn Reyolds and Lukas Engelhardt.

It was a tiebreaker again that made the difference in singles, after the Tigers went ahead 3-1 on wins by Maclean on court three over John Hallquist Lithen (6-4, 6-3) and a three-set victory by Will Nolan on court six over Jan Soren Hain (3-6, 6-2, 6-3).

Four of the six singles matches went three sets, and Ole Miss tied the team score at 3-3 with wins on courts five, one and two. That left Dobai as the last Tiger standing; down 2-5 in his final set on court four, he won three straight points to tie the match with Lukas Engelhardt at 5-5 and then 6-6. Engelhardt moved out to a 6-4 lead in the tiebreaker, before Dobai reeled off four straight points to win 8-6, clinching the team match and moving the Tigers into the SEC quarterfinals.

"As a team, we've come so close so many times before this year, and it actually came down to me against Kentucky when I lost 4-3 after being up almost match point," Dobai, a junior from Vancouver, B.C., said. "Now, I came back from match point down to win this one. Having the guys behind me and just staying the course, it paid off in the end. I'm really happy and thankful."

The Tigers face No. 9 South Carolina, the 2-seed, Friday at 10 a.m. CT. Action continues through Sunday's championship match.

"I always say that the hardest round is actually the first round, getting through it. Then, you can almost take a deep breath," Coach Reynolds said. "That's what we'll do. We'll rest up, and now, we can take a deep breath and get ready for tomorrow with South Carolina and go out and fight like we always do."

Auburn is 19-9 for the spring season and finished 5-7 in SEC play. The Tigers are ranked No. 30 in the latest ITA team ratings and No. 25 in the Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25. No. 31 Ole Miss is 16-12 overall and went 4-8 in SEC play.