No. 20 Kansas tennis hosts Kansas State in Dillons Sunflower Showdown Saturday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas tennis will close out regular-season play with Senior Day for Nina Khmelnitckaia, Janet Koch and Anastasia Rychagova this Saturday as they, along with their Jayhawk teammates, take on rival Kansas State in the Dillons Sunflower Showdown. First serve is slated for 1 p.m.,at the Jayhawk Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park.
The Jayhawks (15-4, 6-2 in the Big 12 Conference) defeated Iowa State and West Virginia last weekend, improving their home record this season to a perfect 10-0. KU has beaten 11 teams that are either currently ranked or have appeared in the poll this season: Northwestern, Illinois, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor, Arkansas, Air Force, Tulsa, Rice and Wichita State. KU has not lost to any team outside the current top 15: Texas (No. 6), Oklahoma State twice (No. 11) and Washington (No. 15). Three of those four losses were by the score of 4-3.
Admission to the match is free and pizza will be given away to those in attendance.
Live scoring and streaming will be available during the match. Updates will also be available on KU tennis’ social media platforms.
Kansas leads the all-time series with K-State, 44-13, including four-straight wins and a 4-1 victory in Manhattan last season. The Wildcats are 12-9 this season, with notable victories against Nebraska, SMU and Wichita State.
“We are excited to close out our Big 12 regular season at home on Saturday,” said Kansas head coach Todd Chapman. “It is important to end the regular season on a positive note and compete well heading into the Big 12 Championship next week.”
In her time at KU, Khmelnitckaia earned All-Big 12 Doubles Second-Team accolades in both 2017 and 2018, and All-Big 12 Academic First-Team honors in 2018. Over the course of the 2018-19 season, the Moscow, Russia, native and her doubles partner, Koch, won the Oracle ITA National Summer Championships. Their success did not stop in the summer; they also won the prestigious Riviera ITA All-American Championships in October. The duo has been ranked among the nation’s best doubles teams all season long, including a No. 1 ranking the week of April 2.
Koch, a native of Durbanville, South Africa, has competed at a high level on the biggest of stages in her time as a Jayhawk. Last season, Koch and her doubles partner, Amber Policare, defeated Pepperdine’s No. 76-ranked duo in the NCAA Tournament Second Round. This spring, Koch and Khmelnitckaia are 14-1, with wins against five ranked opponents. In singles, Koch is ranked No. 96 in the nation, with a 10-9 record this spring.
Rychagova has racked up quite the list of accolades in her time as a Jayhawk. Another Moscow, Russia, native, she was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year in (2016) and has been named Big 12 Singles First Team three years in a row. In 2018, she was named the ITA Player to Watch and an ITA All-American. As a junior Rychagova spent time as the nation’s No. 1-ranked singles player. She was named an All-Big 12 Academic First-Team member in 2017. Rychagova, KU’s No. 1 singles player, is currently ranked No. 26 in the country and has compiled a record of 15-2 this spring. Rychagova and her doubles partner, freshman Sonia Smagina, are ranked No. 73 in the nation with a 14-3 record this spring.
“Saturday is also special because we will be honoring our three seniors after the match,” Chapman said. “Nas (Rychagova), Janet, and Nina have meant so much to our program and helped us dramatically change the level of expectation associated with Kansas tennis. We look forward to honoring them Saturday after the match and hope our fans will come out to honor them as well for all they have contributed to the team in their four years at KU.”