STARKVILLE, Miss. - After an impressive week of play, including an upset of a top five opponent, Mississippi State men's tennis junior Malte Stropp was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week Wednesday.
Stropp, who has started a perfect 7-0 on the season, is ranked 43rd in the nation after starting the season at No. 81. The 7-0 start is the best start for the junior's career, who also surpassed the 60-win mark in singles for his career with three wins this past week.
The Dusseldorf, Germany, native found his biggest win in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 upset of 5th-ranked Jonas Lutjen of Ole Miss. Stropp's win helped propel No. 10 MSU to a 4-2 victory against the No. 12 Rebels, capturing the River Hills Cup for the second consecutive season and the fourth straight victory against the Maroon and White's in-state rival.
In what has been the most striking performance from the MSU veteran so far this season, Stropp defeated Tennessee Tech's Syrym Abdukhalikov in a tough three-set battle that lasted nearly three hours. Fighting off physical exhaustion in his second match of the day, Stropp battled back from losing a first-set tiebreaker to defeat Abdukhalikov 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3.
Not limited to singles play, Stropp has also excelled in the doubles field this spring, pairing with teammate Jordan Angus for the 13th-best doubles tandem in the nation. The duo is 4-1 for the season, including wins against two ranked opponents.
Stropp and the rest of the men's tennis squad return to action this Friday, February 15, against the No. 7 Kentucky Wildcats in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Seattle, Wash. Seven total SEC teams are in the 16-team field, with six of those teams on MSU's side of the bracket. MSU and UK are scheduled to begin play at 1 p.m CT Friday.