Planinsek’s singles campaign ends in second round of NCAA Championships

Ashlee Woods | @ashleemwoods, Contributing Columnist

Alabama’s Filip Planinsek fell in the second round of the NCAA Singles Championships, 6-2, 6-3, to No. 13 Matej Vocel of Ohio State Tuesday afternoon. Planinsek’s season ends at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.

Planinsek earned a spot in the second round by defeating Hawaii’s Andre Ilagan in the first round on Monday in three sets. Planinsek took the first set 6-3 but dropped a tightly contested second set in an 8-6 tiebreaker. The freshman from Slovenia regained momentum in the final set to take the match, winning 6-2 in the third. 

The second-round match was even at the start. However, Vocel soon took the momentum and earned a 6-2 victory. Vocel would continue to cruise in the second set. The graduate student jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished that advantage. Planinsek won three straight games towards the business end of the set, but it wasn’t enough. Vocel won the second set 6-3 and booked his spot in the next round of the championships. 

“Filip faced a tough, seasoned vet today in Matej Vocel,” Alabama head coach George Husack said. “There wasn’t much margin for error and Filip gave his best effort as he always does. A commendable freshman season where he anchored our top singles and doubles positions while also getting a taste of the NCAA Championships.”

Planinsek made history this season, earning the program’s first-ever SEC Freshman of the Year honor. He finished the year on a 22-match winning streak, which led the team. He currently holds the second-highest ranking for a freshman in the country and is the only SEC freshman ranked in the ITA rankings at No. 60.

“There’s plenty of room for him to build off of this year’s development and continue his growth in becoming an elite competitor,” Husack said. “We are all proud of what Filip has accomplished but more importantly who he is and what he brings to our program on a daily basis. I’m excited for what the future has in store for him.”