NCAA Men's Tennis: Columbus State Reaches National Quarterfinals
Columbus, Ga. -- Columbus State senior Nemanja Djuric tossed his racquet in the air and threw both arms into the air as his opponent's shot flew long to give Djuric and the Cougars a 5-3 win in the final match of the NCAA Southeast-2 Regional.
That final shot gave Djuric a hard-fought 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win over Joao Casagrande and was the clinching win for the Cougars, coming at the number six singles position. The Cougars had fallen behind 2-1 after the doubles competition and needed four singles wins to pull out the victory.
"This is what we set out to do at the beginning of the year," said an elated coach Evan Isaacs of CSU. "We accomplished one goal by winning the right to host this event and then accomplished another by winning it and getting to nationals. Now we will go and see what we can accomplish there."
"This is great for our program and great for these guys. The crowd was awesome today and gave us great support and saw some great college tennis. The atmosphere was great and I am glad we rewarded them with a win," he added.
Christophe Noblet was the first CSU player to complete a win, defeating Giovane Nucci 6-2, 6-3. That win knotted the match at 2 apiece. A few minutes later, Daniel Stomberg finished off a 6-4, 6-3 win over Leo Bernardes to put the Cougars ahead in the match for the first time. A short while later, Frank Suarez won a second-set tie-breaker to defeat Jerome Leborgne 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) and make it 4-2 at the number one spot.
GCSU's Max Beliankou then made it 4-3 as he defeated Olivier Simonet 6-3, 6-4 at number three. That win set up the dramatics surrounding the final two matches in play. CSU's Diego Motivar and opponent Johan Wadstein were early in the third set of their match with one set apiece, while Djuric was trying to finish off the clinching win. Most of the nice crowd at the Blackmon Tennis Center moved to the area around court 6 and were rewarded with a big celebration as Djuric closed out the win.
The Bobcats had put a scare in the CSU faithful after taking two doubles wins. Nucci and Beliankou took a win at number two over Simonet and Djuric by a score of 8-5, and teammates Wadstein and Bernardes pulled out a 9-7 win over Filip Cojbasic and Stomberg at number three. Suarez and Noblet got the only doubles point for CSU with an 8-4 win over Leborgne and Casagrande.
CSU will make its first appearance in the NCAA Men's Championship next week in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Match dates and times will be announced later.