Kansas Tennis Prepares for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

March 6, 2013

NORMAN, Okla. – The Kansas women’s tennis team will hit the road to begin Big 12 dual play this weekend, travelling to face No. 40 Oklahoma on Friday and No. 28 Oklahoma State Sunday.

Friday’s match against the Sooners will begin at 5 p.m., while competition on Sunday starts at noon.

Oklahoma enters the match with an overall 6-3 record for the 2013 spring season, with all of its three losses coming to teams ranked in the top 35 nationally. Hermon Brhane leads the Sooners with a No. 105 singles ranking, while she and fellow junior Whitney Ritchie are currently No. 49 in the nation in doubles.

Kansas’ top two singles players competed against opponents from OU at the ITA Regional Championships in Tulsa, Okla., during the fall. Freshman Maria Jose Cardona played against Brhane in the quarterfinals, and sophomore Maria Belen Ludueña faced third-seeded Ritchie in the tournament’s second round. Both lost in straight sets.

Oklahoma fell to then-No. 35 Arizona State on Jan. 26, 5-2, with losses in February to No. 33 Rice, 4-3, and No. 34 Illinois, 5-2. Rice and Arizona State have since climbed to No. 26 and 27 national rankings, respectively.

Oklahoma State also features a highly ranked player in senior Malika Rose, who is No. 58 nationally in singles. The Cowgirls sit at 6-2 this season, with a 6-1 loss to No. 22 Tulsa March 1 and a 4-3 defeat at the hands of then-No. 72 Georgia State in their season opener.

In doubles, Cardona and Ludueña fell to Rose and teammate Kanyapat Narattana, 8-5, in round two of the main doubles draw at ITA Regionals. Rose and Narattana were the No. 1 seed of that tournament and advanced to the semifinals.

Kansas was ranked No. 65 in last week’s ITA Women’s Division I National Rankings, but it came up unranked this week, despite routing UMKC, 7-0, on Feb. 28.

The Jayhawks have individually combined for a 28-15 singles record and a 14-6 doubles mark in dual play. At 5-0, freshman Nastya Trubica holds the team’s best singles record after she worked her way into the lineup and eventually the No. 5 position.

“For not playing that much, Nastya has really impressed me with her performance and fight,” coach Amy Hall-Holt said. “They all have their moments and step up at certain times in a match.”

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