October 4, 2011
MERIDIAN — Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s No. 1 men’s doubles team of Marko Knezevic and Mario Huljev won the ITA Southern Fall Regional Doubles Championship hosted by Meridian Community College. They will compete in the ITA National Small College Tennis Championships, Oct. 13-16 in Mobile, AL.
Knezevic and Hulev defeated Itawamba’s Kevin Alecksandruk of Argentina/Lucas Souza of Brazil in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to claim the title.
“They played the best doubles I’ve seen in my 34 years of coaching at Co-Lin,” said Co-Lin tennis coach Mike McIntyre.
After a first round bye, Knezevic-Huljev (both from Croatia, ranked No. 40 in the nation in doubles last spring) defeated Meridian Community College’s No. 1 doubles team of Simon Bardell and Will Huntington 8-2 to advance in the semifinals. In the semifinals top seeded the top seeded Co-Lin duo pulled out a 9-7 thriller against the Hinds Community College’s doubles team of Horbik and Gubin both from Russia.
In men’s singles action at No. 1 singles, Knezevic, one of the tournaments top seeds (ITA #22 in the nation last spring) lost to Itawamba’s Aleksandruk 6-4, 7-5 in a hotly contested match in the championship match. He defeated Holmes Community College’s Darrly Hale 6-3, 6-2 in the round of 16, after a bye in the first round. In the quarterfinals, Knezevic defeated #5 seeded Aussie Alex Puyol of Mississippi Gulf Coast 6-3, 6-2. In the semifinals, Knezevic cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over another top seed, nationally ranked Englishmen Sam Thorold of Jones County.
In the B draw consolation doubles finals Co-Lin’s Brance Crane of Moss Point and Mark Ladd of Monticello fell to Jones County’s Josh Agee-Colby Prince. Crane-Ladd defeated MS Gulf Coast's Baughman and Bell 8-2 in the semifinals.
In singles action, Crane defeated Garry Blissard of Hinds in B draw 6-1, 6-1, but was defeated in a heart-breaker 6-2, 7-6 after being up 5-0 in the second set.