News from MSU Media Relations--May 23

The lastest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...

ATHENS, Ga. - Mississippi State sophomore Martina Banikova will begin play at the 2007 NCAA Singles Championship Wednesday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. A native of Kosice, Slovakia, Banikova will begin her first-round match in the 64-player field at 10:30 a.m. CT.

Banikova, currently ranked 46th nationally, will face Colorado's 38th-ranked Monica Milewski. In one previous meeting this season, Banikova topped Milewski 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 in a dual match meeting between MSU and CU in Starkville on Feb. 2.

Among her results in 2006-07, Banikova has registered three wins over top 40 opponents this spring, including a victory against a top 10 foe. She was 4-6 in Southeastern Conference matches, playing all her contests at the No. 1 position in State's lineup. She also clinched two Lady Bulldog wins this season, including State's SEC victory over Alabama.

With Banikova's at-large selection, she is the sixth player in MSU women's tennis history to garner a selection to the NCAA Singles Championship field.

On the men's side, MSU's 34th-ranked Ivan Bjelica, who had also received a bid to this year's NCAA individual competition, was forced to withdraw due to a recent ankle injury. Bjelica, a native of Belgrade, Serbia, compiled a 22-14 overall singles record this season and notched a 5-5 SEC record. He was named first-team, all-SEC for his efforts.

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