No. 20 Kansas tennis tops No. 7 Texas to earn 2019 Big 12 Conference Championship
The match on court 1 between KU’s No. 3-ranked doubles team of Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia and Texas’ No. 59-ranked Anna Turati and Bianca Turati went unfinished with KU leading, 5-2, after Kansas claimed the doubles point.
Kansas has now won the doubles point in 22 out of 23 dual matches this season. The Jayhawks opened the 2019 season by securing the doubles point in 11-straight matches, and now have another streak of 11 in a row.
In singles, Plobrung Plipuech fell short to No. 53-ranked Granic at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-3, tying the score at one point apiece.
On court 4, Smagina beat Markovic, 6-4, 6-0, putting KU back in the lead.
Then, at No. 5 singles, Khmelnitckaia bested Labrana, 6-2, 6-4, stretching the Jayhawks’ lead to 3-1.
Koch, ranked No. 104 in the nation, fell to No. 37-ranked Anna Turati, 6-2, 6-3, moving the Longhorns to within one. That set up Toran Ribes’ heroics.
The closely contested match between KU’s No. 22 Rychagova and UT’s No. 29 Bianca Turati went unfinished after Kansas claimed the Big 12 Championship with Toran Ribes’ singles victory. Rychagova led in that match, 6-4, 6-5.
Kansas head coach Todd Chapman
On his feelings after Kansas clinched the match:
“Six years ago when I got to Kansas I knew this was a possibility and that is what I told Kansas Athletics in my interview. It takes a village and I paused to take a moment to think about all the people who got us here and have helped me get here. It was a special moment. These girls have been through a lot this year. We push them extremely hard and we push them hard for these specific moments. To know they see it and feel it is something that can never be taken away from them. The moment was not relief but appreciation.”
On what is next this season:
“The exciting thing is we have a lot of tennis left to play. It was a huge accomplishment to make it to the Big 12 Championship final, and we are not settling after winning the Championship. We believe this team is built for more than that, we have prepared for more than that. I think our players see that and now know how good they are. It is exciting for the moment and it is exciting for the next few weeks as well.”
On today’s Championship environment:
“To see this crowd all weekend just grow and grow to get behind this team — it is exciting. It is exciting for Kansas tennis, it is exciting for Lawrence. I am just excited for these girls to get to play in this environment. It was a fantastic college tennis match and what a great job our fan base did to help us push through.”
With the Big 12 Conference Championship victory, Kansas tennis has earned an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks now await the NCAA Selection Show announcement on Monday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m. The NCAA Tournament begins play on Friday, May 3.