Kansas tennis closes out Orlando Invitational
ORLANDO, Fla. – After two strong days of play at the Orlando Invitational hosted by, and played at, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus Kansas tennis finished with five wins on the final day of the tournament. Spread across singles and doubles competition, the Jayhawks’ five wins on the day included a victory over the No. 38-ranked doubles team in the country.
The Jayhawks opened the third and final day in Orlando with doubles play against Big 12 Conference opponent Texas Tech. Two of Kansas’ four nationally ranked doubles players, senior Janet Koch and freshman Sonia Smagina, paired up Sunday and topped Texas Tech’s Kennedy Bridgforth and Lana Rush, 6-4. KU freshman Malkia Ngounoue and her doubles partner today, junior Maria Toran Ribes, pulled off an upset over TTU’s No. 38-ranked Felicity Maltby and Nell Miller, 6-3. Kansas senior Nina Khmelnitckaia partnered with freshman Julia Deming, but the duo was bested by Lady Raiders Reagan Collins and Olivia Peet, 4-6.
After starting off singles play with losses in their first two matches, seniors Khmelnitckaia and Koch turned their fortunes around on Sunday, with both marking their first victories of the spring 2019 season. No. 70-ranked Khmelnitckaia triumphed against Rice’s Priya Niezgoda, 6-3, 6-2 while No. 34-ranked Koch beat the Owls’ Victoria Smirnova, 6-4, 6-4.
Jayhawk freshman Ngounoue went into her Sunday singles match with a record of 5-0 over the weekend. However, she came up short of a perfect record in the tournament as she fell to Rice’s Michaela Haet, 6-7(9), 6-3, 6-4.
After partnering with Ngounoue to defeat a top-50 doubles team, Toran Ribes was bested in her singles match by Rice’s Anastasia Smirnova, 6-7(4), 0-6.
Following her first loss earlier in the day in doubles play, Deming looked to continue her perfect tournament record in singles. But Rice’s Anna Bowtell did not allow that to happen, as she bested Deming 6-4, 5-7, 2-6. Kansas’ Smagina wrapped up the Orlando Invitational for the Jayhawks with a victory over Rice’s Diae El Jardi, 6-2, 6-0.
Kansas head coach Todd Chapman
“We leave Orlando in a much better place as a team than when we arrived. We have been tested as a team the last three days against great competition. Our schedule to open the season is really difficult, so this trip has done a great deal to help us prepare for January 20 (vs. Northwestern).”
Koch/Smagina (Kansas) def. Bridgforth/Rush (Texas Tech), 6-4
Ngounoue/Toran Ribes (Kansas) def. No. 38 Maltby/Miller (Texas Tech), 6-3
Collins/Peet (Texas Tech) def. Deming/Khmelnitckaia (Kansas), 6-4
Haet (Rice) def. Ngonoune (Kansas), 6-7(9), 6-3, 6-4
No. 34 Koch (Kansas) def. V. Smirnova (Rice), 6-4, 6-4
No. 70 Khmelnitckaia (Kansas) def. Niezgoda (Rice), 6-3, 6-2
A. Smirnova (Rice) def. Toran Ribes (Kansas), 7-6(4), 6-0
Bowtell (Rice) def. Deming (Kansas), 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
Smagina (Kansas) def. El Jardi (Rice), 6-2, 6-0
Kansas tennis begins spring 2019 dual play Sunday, January 20 at 12 p.m., against Northwestern at The Jayhawk Tennis Center, located at Rock Chalk Park. The match is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN+.
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