No. 52 Malesevic Punches Ticket To ITA Nationals
Published 11:20 am Tuesday, October 18, 2022
TUSCALOOSA, Ala., – Mississippi State’s top-ranked men’s tennis player, Nemanja Malesevic, reeled off a pair of singles wins on Monday to advance to the final of the ITA Southern Regional.
Malesevic’s appearance in the final also qualified the 52nd-ranked junior for next month’s ITA Fall National Championships in San Diego, California. Malesevic is the first Bulldog to reach the ITA Fall Nationals since Giovanni Oradini and Gregor Ramskogler both qualified in 2019.
Malesevic will meet Alabama’s Enzo Aguiard in the ITA Southern Regional final on his homecourt Tuesday at 10 a.m. He defeated Aguiard in both occassions at home last season – 6-3, 7-5 at the Bulldog Invitational on Oct. 3, 2021 and also 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 on March 25.
Malesevic started Monday’s singles run by downing LSU’s Welsh Hotard 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-3 in the quarterfinals and was forced into a semifinal match against his Bulldog teammate and doubles partner Carles Hernandez.
Malesevic fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to win 7-5 and took the second 6-2 for his fifth singles win of the event.
Earlier on Monday, Hernandez secured the biggest singles win of his career by rallying to take down 13th-ranked Filip Planinsek of the Crimson Tide 4-6, 7-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. It was the second ranked singles win of Hernandez’s career and first since knocking off then No. 25 Aleksa Bucan of Arkansas at ITA Kickoff Weekend back in January.
Hernandez and Malesevic came close to both men punching their tickets to San Diego on Monday morning. The junior doubles duo started the day in the semifinals against the LSU team of Stefan Latinovic and Nick Watson.
Hernandez and Malesevic took the first set 6-3 but dropped the middle set 4-6. The Tiger tandem was able to edge out a super tiebreaker 10-8 in the third set to secure a spot in Tuesday’s doubles final.
ITA Southern Regional
Alabama Tennis Stadium | Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Oct. 17, 2022