Men’s tennis heads to national championships

Abby McCreary, Assistant Copy Editor

Doubles partners Filip Planinsek and Juan Martin won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southern Regional Championship on Oct. 18, hosted this year in Auburn, Alabama. 

During the weeklong tournament, singles and doubles players competed for the chance to travel to San Diego, California, for the ITA Fall National Championships. 

“We’ll see you in San Diego,” ITA Tennis said on Twitter. 

While freshman Planinsek and graduate student Martin also competed in singles play, they had the most success as a doubles team. Their road to the championship began as a No. 10 seed on Saturday with a hard-fought 8-5 win against Troy’s Noah Martens and Javier Llinares Pellicer. 

The duo then defeated LSU’s Boris Kozlov and Nicholas Watson handily with an 8-1 win, advancing to the quarterfinals against Mississippi State’s Carles Hernandez and Alberto Colas. 

On Sunday, Planinsek and Martin defeated the Bulldogs 8-3 and qualified for the semifinal match against Alabama State’s Ruan Du Preez and Samrakshyak Bajracharya. 

Moving to two-set matches, the Tide started off strong with a 6-4 win, and then clinched the match and the opportunity to play for the doubles title with a 6-2 win. 

In the finals, the duo competed against another LSU team and a No. 5 seed, Vlad Lobak and Gabriel Diaz Freire. After winning the first set 6-2, the Tide had to fight hard in the second. 

The second set was tied at 5-5, then 6-6 before the match was eventually settled with a tiebreak. Planinsek and Martin won the tiebreak 7-4, winning the set, the match and the championship. 

“[It was] a strong finish to the tournament,” head coach George Husack said. “Competition is the reward for our training, and the results we want are impacted by the quality of our practices. We can do better and will.”

Although the duo and the rest of the Alabama men’s tennis team have been competing in tournaments throughout the fall, this is the first time Planinsek and Martin joined forces. Their doubles title qualifies them for the ITA Fall National Championships Nov. 4-7 in San Diego.

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